Wolff challenges rivals to make protest

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Wolff challenges rivals to make protest


Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff
Wolff joined Mercedes in 2013, having previously been executive director at Williams

Team principal Toto Wolff has challenged rivals to protest if they believe Mercedes have broken the rules in the Racing Point ‘copying’ row.

Racing Point have been docked 15 points and fined 400,000 euros for illegally copying Mercedes’ brake ducts.

Rivals have questioned whether Mercedes fully complied with rules that forbid the sharing of key parts.

Wolff said: “If someone thinks we have done something wrong, they should protest. We are happy to go to court.”

Wolff said he believed both his team and Racing Point had fully complied with the rules.

“We have not been protested,” he said. “We have done nothing wrong; I strongly believe Racing Point have done nothing wrong.

“I believe if it goes to the international court of appeal, the lawyers have a strong opinion that this is a case that has very solid pillars and therefore everybody’s in a good place about that.

“Our reputation is important but it is intact.”

Racing Point have lodged an intention to appeal against the verdict, as have four of their rivals, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Williams.

Racing Point hope to clear their name, while the four other teams are seeking to clarify issues that arise from the ruling.

Racing Point’s punishment was based on the stewards’ belief that they had broken a rule that says teams have to design certain key parts of the car, known as ‘listed parts’, themselves.

Brake ducts, which play an important role in the aerodynamics of Formula 1 cars, were added to this list of performance differentiators for this season.

Racing Point were legally supplied with the design details of Mercedes’ 2019 brake ducts last year, but the stewards penalised them on the basis that they were not allowed to use the same design this year.

Stewards likened Racing Point’s design process to “using tracing paper to copy a shape/drawing”.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer said the stewards were “wrong in that assessment”.

Among the points of contention for rivals teams are that the rule changing the status of listed parts for 2020 was sanctioned by governing body the FIA in April last year, yet Mercedes kept supplying the data after that; and that Mercedes supplied Racing Point with a set of brake ducts in January this year, after the rule on their status had come into force.

The FIA ruling said giving the brake ducts to Racing Point in January this year “did not constitute a breach of the regulations worthy of censure as the parts in question were not used and did not expand the information that had previously passed from Mercedes to Racing Point quite legitimately”.

But Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “I am sure those questions will get asked, because if the team in question are guilty of receiving, surely the team that has provided has been also in breach of the regulations. But that is something for the FIA to deal with.”

Wolff said: “The rule came in place for the 2020 season. So you were allowed to supply drawings and data in 2018 and 2019; it was permitted.”

He added that it was not Mercedes’ responsibility to check how Racing Point used parts it had been legitimately supplied.

“I don’t know what we should think what Racing Point does,” Wolff said, “but I think even using them on the 2020 car was not something that was regulated.”

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