Racing Point: F1 rivals missed a trick in not copying Mercedes

Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer thinks other Formula 1 teams made a mistake in not adopting its philosophy of copying the best car on the grid.

Racing Point: F1 rivals missed a trick in not copying Mercedes

The Silverstone-based team has caused a stir over the opening three races of the campaign, with Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll having shown some impressive speed in the RP20 design that has been inspired by last year’s Mercedes.

But while its car has been protested by Renault, which believes that its brake ducts breach F1 rules that demands teams design certain parts themselves, Racing Point remains defiant about what it has done.

And Szafnauer thinks that rather than his team be criticised for its approach – which some have argued goes against the DNA of F1 – he believes it should be applauded.

Asked if he felt it was other teams who had got their design philosophy wrong, he said: “The answer is yes. However, it doesn't come without risk.

“We didn't know that what we were doing was going to work to the level that it has. There was a big risk that we were going to take a step backwards.

“As a matter of fact, when we started developing this in the tunnel, with the ideas that we saw through pictures, we took a huge step backwards. I mean huge.

“It was seconds per lap slower in the beginning, and it was our own learning that we did for the development process of CFD and tunnel work, and more designs and redesigns, that got us to the place we did.”

Read Also:

Szafnauer said that switching aero concepts – away from the high rake design it had previously run to the Mercedes style – would never be an easy step for any team.

But he said that doing so made perfect sense for his outfit because of the way it was taking customer suspension and gearbox designs from Mercedes that were tailored for the German car manufacturer's specific aero platform.

“The closer or the better high rake solution that you have, the bigger the risk of changing to something else,” he said.

“With us, we've been wanting to do it forever. We buy our gearbox from Mercedes, where that gearbox is designed with a low centre of gravity, so we always had compromises at the rear of the car, where the downforce is critical to have a stable rear end.

“We always wanted to get away from the high rake solution because of the compromise at the rear of the car.

“This was the first year look we were able to change. But even with that, I thought we're going to take a half step backwards before we took a step forward. It just didn't transpire that way.”

While the nature of Racing Point copying the Mercedes design has been criticised by other teams, Szafnauer thinks that what it has done is no different to what any other competitors do when they check out rival cars.

“Taking pictures of other people's cars, it happens everywhere from the biggest teams to the smaller teams,” he said. “Some of them just do a better job at integrating what they learn through those pictures.

“We should not forget that Adrian Newey came up with the blown floor and high rake design that Red Bull has, and now, most of the grid have that, including us [previously].

“We took pictures back then, of the floor that Red Bull had, when we were trying to do it. But we couldn't quite get it to work. I can tell you, other teams have done the same. Everybody does it, it's allowed.”

shares
comments
Grosjean apologises for "elephant in the room" comment
Previous article

Grosjean apologises for "elephant in the room" comment

Next article

Williams to bring "powerful" British GP upgrade for both cars

Williams to bring "powerful" British GP upgrade for both cars
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph Prime

The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen ended the 2022 Formula 1 season in fitting fashion with a dominant drive to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But behind him, early season rival Charles Leclerc achieved his target of securing the runner-up spot with a well-executed a one-stop strategy to beat Sergio Perez, whose pursuit on a two-stop strategy was hampered by several critical factors

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge Prime

Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge

Faced with drivers complaining about the long-term health effects of car ‘bouncing’, the FIA stepped in to deal with it. JAKE BOXALL-LEGGE explains how the so-called ‘Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric’ works, and asks if it is fit for purpose?

Formula 1
Nov 20, 2022