(Motorsport-Total.com) – Since the FIA ruling in the “Copygate” affair (15 world championship points deduction and 400,000 euros fine for Racing Point), the voices of those in Formula 1 who use Racing Point have increased Do not believe that last year’s Mercedes was “reverse-engineered” based on spy photos.
Even at McLaren, where one could assume a certain proximity to Racing Point’s technology partner Mercedes due to the engine deal from 2021, there are obviously serious doubts about the presentation of the facts by Otmar Szafnauer (Racing Point) and Toto Wolff (Mercedes).
CEO Zak Brown thinks it’s “bullshit, […] that they copied the car with photos, “and team boss Andreas Seidl is happy that” the fairy tale that has been told to us for months that someone had a vision, bought a large camera and with the photos has finally been cleared up has built a car to fight for the podium “.
Red Bull has stayed out of the public antics so far. That is astonishing, since Helmut Marko hardly misses an opportunity to cause trouble at Mercedes. But the Austrian has his own agenda: If customer cars are legitimized by an FIA judgment, AlphaTauri could use a Red Bull copy to save costs and thus be competitive.
Marko claims: Copying with photos alone is impossible
Nevertheless, he answered the question of whether, in his opinion, it would be possible to recreate a car based on spy photos and 3D recordings, as Racing Point did with the previous year’s Mercedes, in an interview with Motorsport-Total .com ‘unequivocally: “No. Clearly no. More details have to be put on the table. For that you would need drawings and details.”
Marko’s statements come two days after a controversial TV appearance by former Formula 1 team boss Colin Kolles (including at Force India, the predecessor team of Racing Point) on ‘SPORT1’. Kolles also says: “You can’t copy a car from photos. It’s not just about the brake ventilation. It’s about the entire concept of the car. It is not simply copied from photos.”
And he even goes one step further and makes serious allegations: Racing Point had “not only parts”, but also “certain data. And they had, I was also told, a 60 percent wind tunnel model and a show car as a template where parts can be scanned and then converted into CAD data. Otherwise the story won’t work. “
Even before the ‘SPORT1’ broadcast, Wolff, at that time still in Barcelona, was asked at what point the allegations against Mercedes were going too far for him. Finally, the allegation implies that Racing Point not only copied with spy photos, but also with data and possibly even a wind tunnel model / car that Mercedes also played.
Wolff’s answer is clear: “If the car had been copied with more than photos, we would know that. That’s why, from my point of view, it is total nonsense to pursue this argument.” And he makes it clear: “I will resolutely defend our brand should anyone take this path.”
After criticism from Steiner: Mercedes reacts by writing
Günther Steiner has already felt this. When Wolff recalled at Silverstone that Haas had also been on the road with a Ferrari copy earlier, he defended himself: “I think that’s where the guilty conscience speaks. It seems to me that Toto has his back to the wall. And now he’s trying to distract with other things. “
Shortly afterwards, Haas received a legal letter from Mercedes in which Steiner’s critical statements are corrected from Mercedes’ point of view. A clear indication that the Silver Arrows expressed through the media and in their eyes baseless accusations against themselves will not sit on them without comment.
In the escalation of allegations and counter-allegations, Wolff himself has already given out. He said in Silverstone: “Last year we saw a couple of times that one of our main opponents tried to scan our car with a 3D camera. These 3D cameras are pretty big. Still, they were in the garage and outside! “
He did not specifically reveal who he meant by that, because it was “obvious” anyway. The phrase “main opponent” implies that he can only mean either Ferrari or Red Bull. Marko assures in an interview with ‘Motorsport-Total.com’: “We weren’t.” Which leaves only Ferrari.
Poison arrows are also being shot in the direction of Brackley from Maranello. Team boss Mattia Binotto told the Italian pay TV broadcaster ‘Sky’: “The first judgment says that what Racing Point has done is illegal. This is a start. Stroll and Wolff may be angry, but it lies clearly a rule violation. “
Binotto goes one step further when he says: “There are those who copy a test – and those who give the others their test so that it can be written off. I don’t think there is much more to say about it. The facts are clear. “
Lawrence Stroll affirms: Never been cheated in your life
In the midst of all the chaos, Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll affirmed in a passionate video message that “he has never cheated on anything in my life”. He defends himself: “These allegations are completely unacceptable and not true. My integrity – and that of the team – are beyond question.”
Kolles, on the other hand, has a hard time believing Racing Point and Mercedes’ representations on the matter. He says: “The world is being fooled. That is the problem. Many people who may not be familiar with Formula One believe this nonsense and this fairy tale hour too.”
An opinion with which he is not alone. Even Alain Prost, as a Renault consultant in the discussion, of course, relegated the version, according to which the RP20 is supposed to have been created completely legally, to the realm of fables: “We all know that this is not possible is. Even people who say that now. It just doesn’t work. ” He implies: “If you reproduce a Mercedes with such great detail, you need outside help.”
And ‘RTL’ expert Christian Danner thinks it is “very bold” what Racing Point has done: “Because you always have to keep one thing in mind: The basic principle of Formula 1 is that every team builds its own car. Of course something was always copied from time to time, but what they did there is simply beyond all the things that have ever happened, “he says in the same ‘SPORT1’ show that Kolles appeared on.
Kolles thinks the development that Formula 1 could turn into a customer car world championship in the event of a positive outcome for Racing Point is dangerous: “This will make you dependent on these super manufacturers,” he argues. “Then there are only the three manufacturers who have the small teams in their hands. And then they have to do what the big ones say. That is a massive problem. One underestimates that.”
The race in Barcelona was an urgent warning: “First place Hamilton. Second place Verstappen. Which is an exception because Verstappen is an exceptional talent. Third place was Bottas, fourth place was Stroll, fifth place was Perez. If it wasn’t Verstappen there, places one to four are blocked for Mercedes … “