Otmar Szafnauer says it is “impossible” for Racing Point’s brake ducts to be illegal, despite repeated protests from Renault.
Renault’s protests over the legality of the front and rear brake ducts on the Racing Point stem from claims they are not a design that the team has exclusive use to in Formula 1. Racing Point could legally buy the brake ducts from Mercedes last year, but this year they are one of the listed parts a team must design and manufacture or own the exclusive rights to. This leads to a grey area, because the RP20 is heavily based on last year’s championship-winning Mercedes W10.
“They’ve protested the brake ducts and we don’t have any other brake ducts, mainly because they are legal,” Szafnauer said. “So we don’t have any concerns whatsoever. Our brake ducts are legal, we ran them (in Austria), we ran them (in Hungary) and we’ll run them again at Silverstone.
“It’s impossible for them to be illegal. Brake ducts take a long time to design and make. They are very, very complicated, and we have 886 individual drawings for our brake ducts.”
In the event that his team is found to have illegal brake ducts, the team principal says Racing Point will certainly appeal the decision.
“I don’t think it will go against us, but if it does, we will appeal,” he said. “Our brake ducts are legal. We didn’t contravene any sporting or technical regulations on the brake ducts, or any other part of the car for that matter.”
Although Szafnauer has full confidence in his team’s car, he admitted irritation at having to discuss the issue after what he described was a lengthy pre-season consultation with the FIA to confirm its legality.
“The only reason you may sense a bit of frustration is probably because I have all the information of how we designed and developed our brake duct and the rest of the world doesn’t, because we haven’t disclosed it to the stewards,” he said.
“We have disclosed it to the FIA, and the FIA was satisfied that what we’d done was legal; however, that’s not how the judicial system works. It’s the stewards who have the right and the power to rule, so now we have got to inform the stewards as well and it just takes a little bit of time.
“When the FIA came to us to investigate how we designed and developed our brake ducts, they came to the factory, interviewed people, looked at all of our drawings, the design and development process, what we did in the tunnel and with CFD, and how we got to where we got and they were satisfied. With the stewards you can’t do that, you have to bring the data to them and then also explain through words and piece of paper what you have done and it takes a little bit longer.
“The only reason I am frustrated is that I know what we have done and why it’s legal. And it wasn’t a loophole or anything, it’s just frustrating that I know what we’ve done is legal and I get all these questions about, what happens if you lose? That’s the frustrating part.”