Racing Point Formula 1 team owner Lawrence Stroll says he will “take all necessary actions to prove our innocence”, refuting suggestions that the team has copied Mercedes’ brake duct design.
Stroll also said he was “appalled” by the way that Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Williams have all lodged their intention to appeal the decision announced by the FIA stewards on Friday, accusing them of “poor sportsmanship”.
Racing Point was fined €400,000 and docked 15 World Championship points by the stewards, but the team is allowed to continue to use the brake duct design.
The four rival teams have indicated that they intend to appeal because they are not satisfied with the sanction imposed, while Racing Point has also lodged an intention to appeal in order to clear its name.
Stroll made the comments in a statement he issued at Silverstone on Sunday morning.
“I do not often speak publicly, however I am extremely angry at any suggestion we have been underhand or have cheated, particularly those comments coming from our competitors,” he said.
“I have never cheated at anything in my life. 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.
“This team, under various names, has competed in F1 for over 30 years, and today employs 500 people. We’ve always been a constructor and will continue to be so in the future.
“Throughout those 30 years, this team has been an underdog, punching well above its weight with a fantastic group of people. Between 2016 and 2018, this was the fourth best team on the grid, operating on the smallest budget, and scoring regular podiums.
“Emerging from administration, with stability and fresh investment, this team’s competitive form should not be a surprise to anybody. The team can finally realise its potential and should be celebrated for its strong performance.”
Stroll went on to quote elements of the stewards’ decision, including the fact that they dismissed the relevance of the transfer of Mercedes brake ducts on 6 January, and that they said the change from non-listed to listed parts was a mitigating factor.
He continued: “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, 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.”