Racing Point: We need to clear our name

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Racing Point is confident an appeal process would clear its name in the copying controversy that has seen the team docked 15 points and fined $470,000.

After rivals Renault launched a protest against the Racing Point car earlier this year, the design process of the RP20's rear brake ducts was found to be in breach of Formula One's sporting regulations. That judgement was handed down on Friday, sparking further controversy in the paddock as Racing Point lodged its intention to appeal and overturn the decision while four of its rivals lodged their intention to appeal to see the penalty made harsher.

Racing Point protest: Fined $470K, docked 15 points | Five teams lodge intention to protest sanctions | Rivals suspect RP verdict is tip of the iceberg

"We need to appeal it because we stayed within the regulations, both sporting and technical and we need to clear our name," Racing Point team prinicipal Otmar Szafnauer said. "We should not be losing 15 points and we should not be charged €400,000 we have done absolutely nothing wrong."

The protest was based on whether Racing Point copied the design of last year's Mercedes brake ducts to use on its car this year. Brake ducts changed status over the winter from a part that had previously been possible to buy from a rival to one that teams must design themselves, known in F1 as a "listed part".

The stewards concluded that Racing Point had copied "the shapes and dimensions of the Mercedes CAD models of the brake ducts into a new CAD model", likening the process to "using tracing paper to copy a shape or drawing".

But Szafnauer challenged that verdict on Saturday evening at Silverstone.

"They are wrong in that assessment," he said. "We have 886 unique drawings for these brake ducts and if you look at the regulations, the regulations say they have to be your design. We designed the whole thing ourselves.

"The stewards are saying, 'Yes but the start of your design is saying you looked at a Mercedes brake duct and started with it', but you have to remember that in 2019 they were not listed parts."

Szafnauer pointed out that engineering partnerships between Red Bull and Alpha Tauri and Ferrari and Haas also meant those teams will have based their designs on previous year's brake ducts from rival teams.

"You have got to ask yourself, if we started with a Mercedes design and then designed it ourselves, where did Haas start with their brake ducts and where did Alpha Tauri start with their brake ducts?

"The thing is, once you learn something on an unlisted part in 2019 or, in our case, in 2018 when we got the information it was legal, and you can't unlearn that. You can't unlearn that."

And Szafnauer is confident an appeal would find in Racing Point's favour.

"I don't know what the appeal process will uncover, but the more you dig the better off we are, because then the judges will understand how we got to this car, these brake ducts and they will overlay the regulations and see that we are well within all the regulations for what the car is and what the process was."

Szafnauer also cleared up why Racing Point had received a set of Mercedes brake ducts in early January of this year.

"The point there is, if you read the rules, the new sporting regulations don't apply until 24 hours before the first practice session of the championship," he explained. "So the reason we got those parts in was we were unsure if the parts that we designed and manufactured for this year were going to be manufactured in time for winter testing for February.

"So we received those parts as spares or parts to run in winter testing. As it turned out, we didn't need them at all and our parts made it."