'Angry' Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll says he's ‘appalled’ with rivals as he hits out at accusations of cheating
An “angry” Lawrence Stroll has broken his silence following the FIA’s decision to dock his Racing Point team points and levy a significant fine for running illegal rear brake ducts on their RP20 car, the billionaire owner boldly defending his team and saying he is “appalled” by “the poor sportsmanship of our competitors”…
Stroll rarely speaks publicly, instead preferring to stay in the background, but he said he has chosen to make a statement, ahead of this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, “because I am extremely angry at any suggestion we have been underhand or have cheated – particularly those comments coming from our competitors”.
The Racing Point owner is referring to several rival team bosses’ voicing their unhappiness with the level of the penalty, many of them feeling it is unfair they are allowed to continue using the brake ducts that they have been penalised for running so far.
Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Renault – the latter team being the one who launched the protest in the first place in Styria – notified the FIA of their intention to appeal the penalty and have until Tuesday at 9.30am to submit a full appeal. Racing Point also said they intended to appeal the penalty.
“I have never cheated at anything in my life,” said Stroll. “These accusations are completely unacceptable and not true. My integrity - and that of my team - are beyond question. Everyone at Racing Point was shocked and disappointed by the FIA ruling and firmly maintain our innocence.”
Stroll highlighted five sections of the stewards’ report where they had stated mitigating circumstances, including the concession of a lack of detailed focus on brake ducts by the FIA personnel who inspected the RP20 in March 2020.
He added: “There was an absence of specific guidance or clarification from the FIA in respect to how that transition to Listed Parts might be managed within the spirit and intent of the regulations.
"The rules, as they are written, state that after 2019, no further information on brake duct design can be shared or acquired. At that point, what you know and have learned, is your own information. From that point onwards, you are on your own. Which is exactly what we have done.
“So, to clarify, there was no guidance in place by the FIA surrounding the transition of non-listed to listed items and Racing Point received in March 2020 written confirmation from the FIA with regards to our compliance on the matter.
“This week I was also shocked to see the FIA introduced a new grandfather clause [this is a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases], which had never previously existed.
“Beyond the clear fact that Racing Point complied with the technical regulations, I am appalled by the way Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams have taken this opportunity to appeal, and in doing so attempted to detract from our performances. They are dragging our name through the mud and I will not stand by nor accept this.
“I intend to take all necessary actions to prove our innocence. My team has worked tirelessly to deliver the competitive car we have on the grid. I am truly upset to see the poor sportsmanship of our competitors.
“I understand that the situation in which the FIA finds itself is difficult and complicated for many reasons, but I also respect and appreciate their efforts to try and find a solution in the best interests of the sport.”