Renault could protest new Racing Point car in Australia - report

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Renault could protest Racing Point's new car at the Australian Grand Prix for being a copy of last year's Mercedes, a report claims.

 

The RP20 was immediately dubbed the 'Pink Mercedes' because of its similarity to the W10 after making its debut at the first pre-season test last week.

And so far, its performance hasn't been too dissimilar either, with Racing Point ending the week fourth-fastest among the 10 teams, two-tenths behind the best time posted by midfield rival Renault.

In their defence, technical director Andrew Green has said the 2019 Mercedes was mere "inspiration" for his design.

But with the Racing Point having such close ties to the German manufacturer, buying in engines, gearboxes and using their windtunnel, Renault could take action in Melbourne.

According to AutoBild, that will come in the form of a protest of the RP20 car and Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko thinks they might not be alone.

“We are keeping out of it but McLaren and Renault will broadcast their opinions on this," the Austrian predicted.

What exactly their argument would be is unknown but it could be an interesting story to follow, particularly if Racing Point is as quick as expected.

At the same time, their decision has also drawn comparisons between them and Haas, who have often been criticised for the 'B-team' status with Ferrari.

But in Racing Point's case, CEO Otmar Szafnauer insists everything the team had done is legal.

“I don’t think it is ironic. We copied the Red Bull in the past too, but we copy it within the rules," he told Racer, with the irony point a reference to criticism made by the American team.

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“So we see what they are doing, we take pictures, we try to understand it, we run it in the tunnel, and we do it ourselves.

“So although everyone says you copied a Mercedes, it is our own. It is our own design and it is our own development. It is our own wind tunnel model. It is our own concept.

“Yes, we look to see what is fast. We thought: that’s fast, can we do the same. No different than what we did with the Red Bull when we ran a high-rake concept.

“But the development is our own. We will add another 100 people so we can continue our own development. It is a little bit different than what they [Haas] do.

“You can’t only have a couple of hundred people [in the total workforce] and design and develop your own car. It just doesn’t work that way.”

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