McLaren wants F1 regulations tightened to prevent further car copying

McLaren wants F1 regulations tightened to prevent further car copying

McLaren Formula 1 chief Andreas Seidl is eager for the regulations to be tightened to limit the extent to which teams can copy other cars.

The FIA is currently reviewing a protest from Renault over the legality over Racing Point’s RP20 car, which was based on the design of the 2019 title-winning Mercedes W10.

Racing Point has openly admitted it used pictures of the Mercedes to design its car for this year, but stressed it did so entirely within the regulations and has no concerns over Renault’s protest.

Seidl previously said there were “no grounds” for a protest against Racing Point, but that the case was important for F1’s future as it risked becoming a “copying championship”.

While Seidl accepted there had always been a degree of copying in F1, he said the current regulations allowed the practice to go beyond simply looking at pictures of another car.

“There’s obviously copying [which] is not just copying,” Seidl said.

“There’s copying which has always been around in Formula 1, and which is part of Formula 1.

“We have tried to analyse what competitors are doing by pictures that are publicly available, pictures you can take in the pit lane or on-track. I think no-one has any problem with copying parts or cars from these pictures.

“What is more important is to simply clarify and maybe also change the regulations on what can be done in terms of copying beyond this copying, where you only use publicly-available information.

“There’s room in the regulations at the moment that you can do actually a lot more, that you can do co-operations on wind tunnel technology, on the way you use the wind tunnel, on the way how you map your car in the wind tunnel.

“Also in the way how you get access to pictures of cars, and so on.

“I think that’s something that needs to be clarified, that we have a clear direction on what Formula 1 wants to allow there in the future.”

PLUS: Why F1 has always been a “copying championship”

Renault’s protest against Racing Point has centred on the brake ducts of the RP20 car. Last year, Racing Point were supplied brake ducts by Mercedes as they were a listed part, but they no longer are for 2020.

Renault has also stressed that its protest is not about brake ducts, but about defining the future of F1 and the degree of collaboration permitted between teams.

Seidl said that remained the “key question” McLaren also wanted answering in this case.

“It’s not necessarily about doing something legal or illegal,” Seidl said.

“As I said many times, there is room in the regulations to do a lot more than just take pictures in the pit lane.

“That’s why we think it’s important to have these clarifications now.”