LONDON (Reuters) - Copying is a part of Formula One and Racing Point have just taken it further than other teams with their new car, the sport’s managing director Ross Brawn said on Monday.
Renault have lodged official protests for the past two races against the ‘Pink Mercedes’, questioning the legality of the cars. An investigation is unlikely to produce a verdict for some weeks.
Mercedes-powered Racing Point say they have broken no rules even if their car looks just like last year’s title-winning Mercedes.
“My view is copying in Formula One is standard,” said Brawn, a former Honda and Mercedes team boss who also won titles with his own eponymous team, in a column on the Formula One website after Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“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.”
Brawn, also a former Ferrari technical director, said he’d ask every technical director to raise a hand if they hadn’t copied someone else.
“You won’t see any hands. I have certainly copied others,” he added.
Racing Point had Canadian Lance Stroll finish fourth in Hungary, with Mexican team mate Sergio Perez seventh.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff congratulated the Silverstone-based team — who will become Aston Martin next year — for the step up.
“I am happy for Racing Point because we were hearing in the past years always that the smaller teams on the smaller budgets were not able to compete at the top, and here we go,” said the Austrian.
“Somebody with a vision and with an idea of where to prioritise has managed to really make the jump from the midfield into the top teams. The Racing Point is a podium contender, if not a race-winning contender going forward.
“And it proves that with the right leadership, the right decision-making process and the right funding you can actually accelerate your development curve.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, second on Sunday, was less impressed.
“They will never be in the title hunt, compared to Mercedes,” he said. “If you copy, you will always be behind.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Ken Ferris