Red Bull boss Christian Horner has thrown the spotlight in the F1 cheating scandal back on world champions Mercedes, suggesting they could be a guilty party in the case.
Racing Point was last week found guilty of breaching the sporting regulations and fined $657,000 and docked 15 points in the constructor’s championship. Renault had initially protested, claiming the brake ducts “are clearly based on, and near-identical” to the brake ducts on the 2019 Mercedes.
As of 2020, each team must design their own brake ducts.
Racing Point is appealing in a bid to clear its name, while Renault and Ferrari are appealing on the basis the penalty is not harsh enough. Williams and McLaren also initially flagged their intention to join Renault and Ferrari but have since backed out, with suggestions this is because Williams uses Mercedes engines, while McLaren will do likewise from next season.
While Red Bull has not been involved in the protests, it has an interest in the outcome, given it owns two teams that share information – Red Bull and AlphaTauri.
“Well, it’s an interesting one,” said Horner. “I think the biggest thing for us is that we just want absolute clarity as to what is and what isn’t permissible moving forwards.
“Obviously Red Bull are in the unique position that they own 100% of two Grand Prix teams. So we’ve always complied stringently with the regulations since the constructor rules within the last Concorde were made very, very clear.
“So for us it’s that there is a bigger picture to this, it’s not just about brake ducts, it’s about what is philosophically allowed, and what isn’t.
“Regarding Mercedes, I’m sure those questions will get asked, because if the team in question are guilty of receiving, surely the team that has provided has also been in breach of those regulations? That’s something for the FIA.”
Racing Point will be reprimanded each time they use the brake ducts in the future, but will not suffer a monetary penalty of loss of points.
According to Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko, the decision to find Racing Point guilty, but allow them to continue using the brake ducts, is bewildering.
“We are not part of it because there are enough teams who have lodged their intention to appeal,” he told Sky Germany.
“But this result is not satisfactory for us either, because it does not bring the clarification we had hoped for. I hope that this will happen in the appeal process.
“As a lawyer, it is very difficult to understand that you get a penalty for the same offence and use the same parts again in the three subsequent races, and there is only a reprimand.
“How long can one reprimand? I think that this is not very balanced and not very well thought through. That is why it is important that it goes into appeal.”