One of the most absurd parts of the 2020 Formula One season is over. The Racing Point F1 team has decided that it will no longer appeal the petitions brought against its questionably legal brake ducts. According to the team, it has reached an agreement with its competition.
For anyone unfamiliar with the drama, there have been many complaints about the Racing Points’ brake ducts. Basically, the team was said to have copied Mercedes’ duct design after being provided those designs during a period where the exchange of certain technological information was allowed. But there were discrepancies about when the Racing Point team actually received the technology. Racing Point claimed it had merely used the Mercedes design as inspiration. Other teams alleged that the Racing Point had directly purchased some Mercedes brake ducts during pre-season testing.
Renault led the charge against Racing Point. Ultimately, the FIA ruled that the ducts were actually illegal. Racing Point lost 15 points from its constructors’ championship standings and was asked to pay a near half million dollar fine.
Racing Point said it would continue to petition what it deemed as an unfair ruling. Renault, Williams, Ferrari, and McLaren also protested... because they felt Racing Point got off too easy.
McLaren and Williams never formally protested, and Renault removed its formal protest after discussing the problems with rival teams. A statement read:
We welcome the resolution the teams have agreed, and we’re pleased the FIA has provided much-needed clarification of the rules on listed and non-listed parts.
The stewards and all parties involved in the appeals process recognize that there was a lack of clarity in the regulations and that we did not deliberately break them. Now that the ambiguity around the regulations has been settled, we have decided to withdraw our appeal in the wider interests of the sport.
This issue has been a distraction for us and the other teams, but now we and everyone else can get back to focusing solely on what we’re all here to do: racing hard and providing excitement and entertainment for the millions of F1 fans around the world.
Sadly, the excitement of the season has derived in part from all those off-track grumbles.
So, basically, Racing Point decided that it was satisfied with a clarification of the rules, which had been one if its complaints in the first place. The FIA is likely to confirm the changes and add them to the official regulations ahead of the 2021 season.