McLaren technical director James Key believes innovation in Formula 1 should be motivated by “out-developing” rivals with “better ideas” and not based on copying another team’s philosophy.

Racing Point’s approach to its 2020 car design has proved controversial amongst its rivals with the Silverstone squad’s  RP20 closely resembling Mercedes’ title-winning W10 challenger.

While Racing Point has not broken the rules by taking inspiration from Mercedes 2019 car, Key reckons designers should get a bigger kick out of coming up with brand new concepts.

“The last thing you want to do is copying your neighbour because you want to be out-developing him with better ideas,” Key said.

“The pictures tell the stories of these things and there’s been a lot of discussion but from our side we are much more concentrated on ourselves.

“Of course we have got to keep an eye on the competition and we can see Racing Point has clearly taken an enormous leap in performance, think we’d been silly not to recognise that and acknowledge it.

“From an engineering point of view as an engineer you want to go out and beat everyone else, that’s what motivates most people,” he added.

“Engineers are competitive people, we are, certainly when you work in F1, and you’re always up against competition from a company or another team.

“What makes F1 unique is it’s teams versus teams as well as drivers versus drivers. And as an engineer you want to be the best on the grid at your particular discipline, that’s what motivates a lot of people, it’s certainly what motivates me.

“It’s difficult to know how others feel about it but personally I like to feel responsible for the performance directly.”

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said there is “no point” complaining about Racing Point’s approach as long as it is within the regulations.

“We all do competitor analysis and follow some routes if we think they look interesting, and if they’re worth looking at from our point, but at the same time it’s simply not that easy,” he explained.

“Designing a performing Formula 1 car is a multi-dimensional topic and just trying to copy something from pictures is not that straightforward as it might sound.

“This is why there’s regulations in place which you need to follow, especially when it comes down to what a team has to do themselves, we assume that the co-operation that is there between Racing Point and Mercedes is within these regulations so there’s no point to complain about it.”

Seidl added it is crucial the FIA is “on top of its game” to properly police working relationships between two teams heading into F1’s regulation overhaul for 2021.

“For us it’s more important for us to look at what’s happening for 21 regulations and beyond,” Seidl said.

“I think it’s even more clear or restricted what is allowed in terms of a working relationship between two teams and for us that’s the most important thing is.

“This is where we are in exchange with FIA also, is it needs to be ensured and the FIA needs to make sure they are on top of this game, that the co-operation between two teams is first of all always within the regulations, and doesn’t allow the big team for example to benefit from things that are happening at a smaller team related to these so called listed parts.

“This is something that we are worried about and that is our focus on the discussions we have with the FIA to make sure this is properly policed as that would obviously go against the regulations.

“It would help, let’s say an, A-team, having a co-operation to go around the regulations to increase their resources beyond the idea of the budget cap and that is the biggest worry for us to be honest.”