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Renault launch protest regarding legality of Racing Point after Styrian GP

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Lance Stroll, Racing Point RP20 and Sergio Perez, Racing Point RP20

There was drama late on Sunday in Austria, as Renault lodged a formal protest with the Styrian Grand Prix officials concerning the legality of the Racing Point, which during testing was dubbed 'the pink Mercedes', so similar was it to last year’s all-conquering Silver Arrows car.

Several teams were understood to be unhappy with the RP20, given the similarities to the Mercedes W10, but Racing Point have consistently defending themselves, with Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer saying they had been looking at pursuing a Mercedes aero philosophy for a long time – but they didn’t have the funds available.

READ MORE: Hamilton eases to Styrian Grand Prix victory over Bottas as Ferraris collide

But after Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll finished sixth and seventh respectively in Styrian Grand Prix, ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in eighth, the French team decided to file a formal protest to get clarity regarding the legality of the Racing Point 2020 challenger.

Their protest concerned four articles in the Sporting Regulation, most critically Appendix 6, which concerns listed parts.

Paragraph 1, article 2 (a) says: “A competitor shall, in respect of the Listed Parts to be used in its cars in Formula One, only use Listed Parts which are designed by it.” Article 2 (c) adds: “In the case of the Outsourcing of design, such third party shall not be a competitor or a party that directly or indirectly designs Listed Parts for any competitor.”

READ MORE: ‘He forced us both off the track’ – Ricciardo frustrated with Stroll move as race ‘falls apart’ in last two laps

This translates to Renault suggesting Racing Point are using a design which features elements that have not been designed themselves, as per the regulations.

A decision from the stewards on Sunday night deemed Renault’s protest admissible, with an analysis on the legality of the Racing Point car appearing to focus on the front and rear brake ducts of the RP20. The stewards have impounded those parts from Stroll and Perez's cars in preparation for analysis, with Mercedes ordered to provide the same parts from the 2019 W10 for comparison.

The matter will then be settled once the FIA Technical Department has conducted its investigation into the protest.

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