Racing Point Formula 1 team principal Otmar Szafnauer says he finds the stewards ruling to uphold Renault’s protest against its brake ducts “bewildering”.

The Silverstone-based outfit has been reprimanded, docked 15 constructors’ championship points and fined €400,000 euros after the FIA upheld Renault’s protest which alleged Racing Point’s brake duct design was in breach of the rules.

Racing Point was found guilty of a breach of the sporting regulations relating the ‘listed parts’ element of the design process, but crucially, the team has not broken any technical regulations - meaning it can continue to run its much-debated RP20 with the brake ducts for the rest of the season and only face reprimands.

"The good news from the judgement is that the car is completely legal from a technical perspective, so we can continue to run the break ducts,” Szafnauer told Sky.

“It’s just a manner of process that is within the sporting regulations. We read the sporting regulations and there is nothing in there which specifically says we couldn’t do what we did.

“Other teams have done exactly the same, probably even more than what we have done in a way, so it’s a bit bewildering.

“We now have to decide whether our punishment is one that we should appeal, but like I said the good news is that we can continue to run this car as it is, here and thereafter, and that it is legal.”

Szafnauer is confident that Renault will not be able to protest any other areas of the car given that brake ducts were the only component moved from non-listed to listed parts.

“There’s only one part of the car that went from a non-listed part to a listed part, which is brake ducts,” he explained.

“I was there in the strategy group meeting when we voted for this and I supported this going from a non-listed part to a listed part. Some teams didn’t want this to happen, others did, and I think we were the swing vote.

“I supported Cyril [Abiteboul] wholeheartedly in this. We started this process well before the brake ducts were even contemplated from moving non listed to listed.

“So it pains me and surprises me that the process has now been deemed not within the regulations when the regulations aren’t clear.”

Concerns have been raised that such an approach could lead to F1 becoming a ‘spec-series’ in the future, but Szafnauer believes the technical regulation overhaul in 2022 will see the issue “completely disappear”.

“I think all that kind of stuff should be addressed by the new rules in 2022,” Szafnauer said.

“There are different categories there and it’s to address just that. It becomes even more clear in 2022 and the regulations have been pushed back a year because of the virus situation we found ourselves in, but this issue will completely disappear.”

 

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