Seidl wants ‘clear direction’ from F1 on copying rules
McLaren F1 boss Andreas Seidl wants Formula 1 to clearly define the boundaries that allow a team to copy a rival outfit’s design.
Renault’s protest of Racing Point’s controversial RP20, centered around the car’s brake ducts, has shed a bright light on the sport’s regulations and the provisions that allow a team to replicate a rival’s design or specific components.
Racing Point has exploited the rules to the extreme by reproducing Mercedes’ 2019 championship winning W10, relying on photographic evidence but also on the use of unlisted parts, such as the gearbox and outboard suspension elements which Racing Point – a Mercedes engine customer – sourced from the German manufacturer.
Seidl admits that copying has always been widespread in F1, but the McLaren team boss wants a better and tighter definition of the process that allows for replication.
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“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.
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“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.”
Renault has already said that its protest of Racing Point’s brake ducts – a component that has become a listed part this year, meaning that it must be designed in-house by the team – is mainly about defining the regulation path which F1 will follow in the future.
Seidl will therefore be attentive to the outcome of the protest.
“It’s not necessarily about doing something legal or illegal,” he 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.”
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