Renault F1’s protest to the FIA over the legality of the Racing Point brake ducts has resulted in provisional results for the Styrian GP.
With Renault’s protest to the FIA on Sunday about the legality of the Racing Point brake system, the results of the Styrian Grand Prix – and therefore the drivers’ and manufacturers’ standings – remain provisional.
On Sunday evening at Spielberg, Renault officially lodged a protest with the FIA, asking them to verify the legality of the brake ducts on the Racing Point RP20 – a car largely inspired by the Mercedes of the 2019 season.
The race marshals at the Styrian Grand Prix found Renault’s protest admissible and decided to seal the brake ducts for both Racing Point cars, while at the same time, the FIA asked Mercedes to provide a copy of its car’s brake scoops from last season for comparison.
Renault F1’s protest is based on Appendix 6 of the F1 sporting regulations, which stipulates that a certain list of parts – including brake ducts – must be designed by its own team or subcontracted, but not by another competitor.
Among these listed parts are the rear impact structure, the bodywork (wings, sidepods…), the air intakes or the brake ducts…
The FIA will now analyse more closely the Racing Point brake ducts by comparing them directly with those of the Mercedes of the 2019 season and will have to decide whether these parts are identical and were built and supplied by Mercedes.
The links between Mercedes and Racing Point are strong, as the German manufacturer has signed a technical partnership with the team based in Silverstone, which allows Racing Point to use Mercedes’ wind tunnel in Germany, to use some of the brand’s electronic components, as well as the engine and other mechanical parts.
Since this winter, Racing Point has been the subject of much ink because of its striking resemblance to last season’s Mercedes, but so far the FIA has always declared the RP20 to be compliant with the regulations, with technical delegates from the Federation even visiting the team’s factory a few months ago to ensure the car is compliant.
If Renault waited until the second round of the 2020 season to make this protest, it was only because the two Racing Points finished ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault this Sunday at the Styrian Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez crossed the line in sixth place, while Lance Stroll finished seventh, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in eighth.
If the FIA decides to sanction the Racing Point team by downgrading its two cars at the Styrian Grand Prix, Ricciardo would inherit sixth place and the eight points that go with it, while Racing Point would lose the 14 points scored by its two cars on Sunday.
In the Manufacturers’ standings, Renault would move up a notch to take fifth place, while Racing Point would be sixth.
A decision from the stewards is expected later in the week, perhaps even before the Hungarian Grand Prix kicks off, which will be the third round of the 2020 F1 season this weekend.