Haas Formula 1 team principal Guenther Steiner writes a regular exclusive column for The Race.
Normally the focus is on his own squad, but this time he wanted to take the chance to outline his view of the Racing Point versus Renault case – particularly in light of how Haas has approached its relationship with Ferrari.
I want to talk about the Renault protest of the Racing Point. I’m very interested to see where that one goes because we always were under scrutiny from the FIA all the time and we were always very open to anything they wanted and to clarify whatever we are doing.
So, I’m very interested to see if the FIA was made aware of what was going on. In the beginning I thought Racing Point had done everything to the book like we did, but now we need to see if they did or not.
From the information that is seeping out it seems that Racing Point copied – one-to-one – the Mercedes brake ducts, and for sure that should not be allowed.
I don’t have all the details, because I’m not involved in it, but if the FIA investigates and finds out that it was a copy of the 2019 brake duct, that is obviously illegal and needs to be dealt with. If Racing Point are doing that, there needs to be some sanctions.
Renault have protested them twice now and if they use the same brake ducts in Silverstone this weekend, I’m pretty sure they will protest them again. We will have to see what the stewards decide and for sure if it isn’t clear there will be an appeal. This will define the future of these collaborations.
I think we did it by the book all the time – in fact, I know we did because we always involved whoever was responsible from the FIA side – and we expect nothing less from the other people; the FIA should be well aware of what is happening.
We have always been proactive asking the FIA what we can do, specifically regarding the brake ducts last year, because it was contentious.
The thing with brake ducts is that they are so complex in my view it’s pretty clear to understand if it was copied or if it was designed. With the aero stuff you can take pictures and copy them, but normally you cannot take photos of the inside of a brake duct, you need to take it apart. It’s like saying ‘I looked at the engine and I know what the piston looked like’, to know that you have to take the engine apart.
To design and build a new brake duct will take more than a few weeks. First to design them and then to produce them is very complex because there are a lot of small parts. I would say it’s at least a month to remake it completely different if you cannot use any of the moulds or anything.
If what Racing Point have done is OK, it needs to be clearly defined that we can just copy and not have the ambiguity of what is right and what is wrong.
But is that the right thing to do for the sport? There is more than my opinion on this one, but if this is OK then by not copying brake ducts we were under a disadvantage, in my opinion.
We have all the evidence that we specifically employ people to do the brake ducts, because we didn’t have to do that before the regulation was changed in August. Last year we employed people to design brake ducts because we didn’t have them, so we spent more money and time on them.
In theory this has to involve Mercedes, because how else can they get the brake duct? I don’t think they are left lying around on the streets of Brackley! They must have had the information from somewhere…
I hope the FIA sort it out as soon as possible so not to drag it on, but I think it’s difficult for the stewards on this one. But if the stewards find against them, Racing Point will appeal the decision and this again takes time. It could get pretty messy.