Formula 1 team Renault decided to withdraw their appeal against Racing Point’s 500,000 Euros and fifteen Constructor’s Championship points penalty.
Renault initially announced that they would appeal the punishment, as they felt it was too lenient, and did not provide clarity on what measures would be taken to prevent future incidences of copying.
The official position of Renault is that the newly signed Concorde Agreement provided the clarity that they required from Formula 1, regarding the prevention of copying designs from other teams, which was the basis of their protest against Racing Point, whose current RP20 car was found to have rear brake ducts considered to be “principally of Mercedes design”, having been used in the 2019 title-winning Mercedes SW10.
Racing Point, on the other hand, has stuck to their guns all through, admitting that while the designs were based on drawings of another team’s car (Mercedes), a practice common across the sport, the actual work was done by Racing Point engineers.
They’ve also declared their intention to appeal the punishment, which they consider to be too severe. But there is more than meets the eye here. One is tempted to think that Renault only lodged their protests after realizing just how inferior to Racing Point they were in this year’s championship, in what has been an interesting midfield battle so far.
Renault withdrawing its appeal has caused a stir and controversy surrounding the matter
What this means is that the protest was lodged primarily with the aim of clawing back the deficit between the sixth-placed Renault and the third-placed Racing Point. With Racing Point still being allowed to keep the brake ducts, Renault knew the points deduction would end up counting too little as Racing Point would definitely re-establish their lead.
Renault only used the concept of “safe-guarding originality” to add relevance to their case and attract allies which they succeded on both fronts, especially the second one, as Ferrari, McLaren and Williams lodged their own protests too.
As of today, only Ferarri have not yet withdrawn their protest. In the face of dwindling support, Renault found themselves at risk of their protest being discovered for the vendetta it really is.
The whole line about “putting this controversy behind us” is simply a damage control measure by a team frustrated by inability to match Racing Point’s shrewdness. Yes, the promotion of originality is important but Renault’s protest was never really about originality, although that was the official stance taken.
It was about using all possible means to close an increasingly widening deficit, an end that was never realistic given Racing Point are still allowed to use the same car till the season’s end, which essentially maintains their superiority.
Author: Timothy Ainebyoona
Timothy is a dynamic analyst passionate about news and all things sport.