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Brawn: Copying rival cars in F1 'standard' practice

  • Published on 20 Jul 2020 13:49
  • comments 17
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn says the concept of copying cars in Formula 1 is “standard” and all teams in the paddock are guilty of creating a design using another team's idea.

Racing Point is at the centre of controversy this year, as its 2020 challenger, the RP20, has clear similarities to Mercedes' 2019 car.

Renault lodged a protest against Racing Point after the Styrian and Hungarian Grands Prix, questioning the legality of the cars, which led the FIA to seal and impound Racing Point's front and rear brake ducts.

While Brawn says that copying is common practice in the F1, he states Racing Point has taken the method to another level.

Writing in his post-race column, Brawn said: “My view is copying in Formula 1 is standard. Every team has, in normal times, digital photographers in the pit lane out there taking thousands of photos of every car for analysis, with a view of copying the best ideas.

“We used to give our photographers a shopping list. Racing Point have just taken it to the next stage and done a more thorough job. 

“There is not a single team in this paddock which has not copied something from another. I’d ask every Technical Director in the paddock to raise their hand if they haven’t copied someone else. You won’t see any hands. I have certainly copied others.

“Last year, Racing Point had access to, and could use, 2019-spec Mercedes brake ducts because they were not a listed part. This year, brake ducts are listed parts, so you have to design your own.

“However, Racing Point cannot forget the knowledge they acquired using the 2019 Mercedes brake ducts. I think it is illogical to think they can wipe their memory banks. It is a tricky problem and one for the FIA experts to resolve.”

It is believed that a decision regarding the car's legality is hoped to be reached before the next grand prix weekend at Silverstone, which takes place from July 31 to August 2.

Replies (17)

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  • Manto02

    Posts: 85

    I can only see excuses to avoid damaging the reputation of Mercedes and RP

    • + 1
    • Jul 20 2020 - 14:40
    • Each and everyone legit though. Brawn know his stuff, he ain't stupid. The investigation isn't over, from what I know, but so far, mothing devious appears to have occurred.

      • + 1
      • Jul 20 2020 - 15:44
    • Snooky

      Posts: 95

      Interesting point though, if the Stewards determine that component designs can only have come from merc not photos I wonder what would happen to merc in that situation, I guess play dumb and say it’s down to RP to adapt the design

      • + 0
      • Jul 20 2020 - 18:53
  • jj284b

    Posts: 21

    Quest is Ross, is that F1 fans want to see?? Championship of Copycats? one team makes a car and rest of them will just copy them for minimal costs?

    • + 0
    • Jul 20 2020 - 19:12
    • Hell yeah, why not? It clearly makes for better races and gives small teams a better chance to fight against the top teams. Who really cares except those who didn't copy Merc's design.

      • + 0
      • Jul 22 2020 - 01:10
  • RPF didn't just copy the frame. But, there could be larger implications of insider help on packaging, cooling, alignment, and component sharing. This is only going to get worse with more protests after each race. F1 management will be forced to limit the damage if they aren't already doing it.

    • + 0
    • Jul 20 2020 - 19:51
  • Teams been copying each other for decades. It's F1. No shocks.

    • + 0
    • Jul 20 2020 - 21:45
  • f1ski

    Posts: 666

    Why do teams put tarps over their cars after a crash. Put up barriers while working on the cars. Did teams get fined for the t wings? Gill slits on the rear wing end plates.

    • + 0
    • Jul 20 2020 - 22:21
  • makina

    Posts: 1

    yes, teams do copy everyone else's design, but not to this extent where the whole car looks the same, would you like that most of the 2022 cars looks the same as the 2021 champions? if this trend would be allowed in the future then i guess it's going to be same as the other series where all cars are identical. and i'm sure most of the bottom teams would do the same if this is allowed.

    • + 0
    • Jul 21 2020 - 04:32
    • Do you really care if it makes the racing better and closer? As far as I'm concerned they should be able to buy parts directly from manufacturers if they want to. I would rather see closer races with more emphasis on the drivers than how much a team can spend or outspend another team who doesn't have the staff to design every part.

      • + 0
      • Jul 22 2020 - 01:13
  • Manto02

    Posts: 85

    "teams copy for decades"
    Ok, then why nobody copied mercedes from 2014 to 2018? Or red bull from 2010 to 2013, or ferrari in the Schumacher era?
    Why teams always try to invent their solution when they can just make a carbon copy like nothing?
    And most important, did anyone ever see a team improve of like 3 and a half seconds from one year to another with the same rules as the year before? Prove me wrong

    • + 0
    • Jul 21 2020 - 08:44
    • many did for both gens, it just wasn't this extensive or talked about before.

      • + 0
      • Jul 21 2020 - 08:53
    • Manto02

      Posts: 85

      Because it was copied within possible limitsz not carbon copy

      • + 0
      • Jul 21 2020 - 13:59
    • well, this isn't quite a carbon copy, but it is indeed very similar.

      • + 1
      • Jul 21 2020 - 15:15
  • TheDentist

    Posts: 24

    FIA came to a sealed agreement with no penalty for an illegal Ferrari engine they used all year to win races and points that earned them more money. I’d be surprised if racing point get any penalty for copying a cars parts when all teams are doing that

    • + 0
    • Jul 21 2020 - 21:42
    • They all do it and should be allowed to. If they are serious about cutting costs and making the racing closer then I say, copy on!

      • + 0
      • Jul 22 2020 - 01:15
  • f1ski

    Posts: 666

    Until now no one has had the balls to do this. Hats off to Racing Point for doing this. The best part of this is that they now will have a better understanding of how certain design elements integrate into a better overall working package. Teams steal engineers all the time. It rarely leads to a magical transformation. Frankly I think all the rules put in place to save money active suspension, active aero, traction control all help the teams with more money develop a successful car. Having a strict rule book leads to homogeneity as usually all roads lead to one best fit. MB when compared to MB in qualifying has to be doing something illegal they just aren't being called out for it like ferrari. If Ferrari found a way to beat the max fuel flow rate yet still finish a race with the fuel allotment more power to them. I promise that the MB power unit is living in the grey zone

    • + 0
    • Jul 21 2020 - 23:57

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