The story around the RP20, Racing Point's challenger for the 2020 F1 championship, continues.
Nikolas Tombazis, FIA's head of single-seater technical matters, revealed that FIA has never investigated on Racing Point brake conducts before the start of the championship.
But, let's take it from the start: in mid February Racing Point unviles their challenger for the 2020 championship, the RP20. In Barcelona, for winter testing, it is more and more evident how the singleseater driven by Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll is pretty similar to the 2019 Mercedes car, the W10.
The team always stated they took inspiration from the W10, copying some elements and aerodynamic solution from pictures, which is allowed by the regulations. Tombazis visited the RP factory, where the engineers showed him the car and how they "copied" some solutions from the Mercedes pictures and declared all legal. And, indeed, Racing Point has always stated that the FIA inspected the car and passed it legal.
After the first two GPs in Spielberg, Austria, Renault protested against FIA affirming that the front and rear brake ducts on the Racing Points cars are exactly the same as the W10. But now, after the Renault protests, the FIA admits they have never look specifically at the brake ducts that have now become the focus of Renault's protest. Mercedes will now provide the parts from the W10 and a response from FIA is expected before the Silverstone Grand Prix.
"We did have some noises made by some teams over February, and we decided to investigate before Australia, and we did go to the Racing Point factory - Tombazis confirmed to Autosport - we primarily focussed on the rest of the car, not the brake ducts, fortunately or unfortunately. The rest of the car was extremely similar, and the rest of the car was listed both last year and this year, so there were no excuses in any form or shape.
"If the rest of the car had been somehow obtained though CAD information, that would have been blatantly illegal. In fact it would be implicating both Mercedes and Racing Point very heavily. So when we went there we looked into this matter, we looked primarily at the rest of the car, and we were convinced by what we saw that what Racing Point have been saying as their process of taking photographs and reverse engineering from the photos was very plausible.
"I would say even more than that, they showed us how they have done everything and we were satisfied that was the process they had indeed followed" Tombazis insisted.
"So in the winter discussion we didn't go into the detail of the air ducts, rightly or wrongly, I'm not saying necessarily that was the right thing, with hindsight maybe we should have gone into that more, but we were looking at the whole car and the parts that that had traditionally been the listed components."
"We certainly have opinions about the air ducts, and we're discussing it also internally because there are some delicate legal and regulatory matters to address. But the Renault protest is specifically concentrating on what is the more complicated part of the matter - the front wing or the nose or the diffuser and all of that, let's say are relatively easy, and that's what we primarily focussed on in February and March.
"If it had been found that they had been given information on the diffuser for example then both teams, Mercedes and Racing Point, would have been in fairly deep trouble, I would say."
The matter will be crucial for the future of Formula 1 and the relationship between smaller and bigger teams, but can also create another drama: other team already have a close partnership, like Red Bull and Toro Rosso or Ferrari and Haas, sharing several part of the car.