McLaren: Racing Point protest will decide if F1 becomes a 'copying championship'

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McLaren believes the fallout from Renault's protest of Racing Point's 2020 cars will determine if Formula 1 becomes a "copying championship".

After last weekend's second race in Austria, the French manufacturer finally went ahead with their protest to the FIA, arguing that the so-called 'Pink Mercedes' were in breach of regulations related to listed parts.

The result of that was the stewards impounding the front and rear brake ducts from the Racing Point cars and requesting the same parts from last year's Mercedes, with a hearing now set to take place on whether the rules have been broken.

McLaren themselves ruled out their own protest, believing there were no grounds on which to do so, and F1 team Andreas Seidl doesn't expect Renault to be successful either.

“We don’t know all the details that are behind [the protest], but to be honest how outspoken and proud Racing Point are about running a one-year-old Mercedes, I would be surprised if anything has been done that is not in accordance, or possible with exploring the limits of the regulations,” he said in Hungary on Friday.

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However, the German does believe how the governing body responds to the protest will decide if other teams choose to follow the Racing Point path.

“This protest is another key element on making some clarifications, on the FIA and Formula 1 side of what they want Formula 1 to be in the future," Seidl continued.

“Do they want that Formula 1 is ending up in a copying championship?

“In a championship where you end up with two or three constructors’ or manufacturers’, and we simply have then more cars of one manufacturer or constructor on-track?

“Which we definitely think [it] is the wrong way to go for Formula 1, and is not a sustainable way.”

Obviously, as one of F1's longest-running independent teams, McLaren has been impacted by the trend of midfield teams working most closely with the top three teams to improve their performance.

And Seidl hopes efforts will be taken to ensure each team remains as individual as possible.

“What makes Formula 1 so special for us is Formula 1 has always been a competition between 10 constructors’, where the final car, in the end, is the result of the know-how, the power, the engineering power you have built up within your own team over years. In the end that’s the competition,” he added.

“I think our position is clear, what we want to see, and it’s important to get these clarifications now in order to also make up our mind on how we see our future as a team.

“But we clearly want to be our own independent team with our own identity, and yeah. So looking forward to the outcome of this.”

Commenting on Thursday, however, Racing Point driver Lance Stroll again defended his team's approach.

"Everyone has done an incredible job over the winter to build this race car," he said after declaring it "100 per cent legal".

"We've definitely demonstrated we are very quick, both weekends in Austria. We were on the front foot, and that was really great.

"On the Renault protest side of things, it's disappointing that we have to see that protest and all that drama early in the season.

"[Technical director] Andrew Green and everyone back at the factory has done a great job with this car. No one can take that away from us.

"It's natural there will be some protesting going on, and some bad ideas about how we've constructed this car. The guys at the factory have done a great job, and that's how it is."