Is the racing point 2020 formula 1 car a copy of the Mercedes AMG 2019 car?

This blog will compare the racing pot formula 1 2020 car with the 2019 Mercedes formula 1 car and answer the following questions: is the racing point 2020 formula 1 car a copy of the Mercedes AMG 2019 car? What are the similarities and differences between both cars? How many points did the racing point formula 1 team score in the 2020 season? 

Is the racing point 2020 formula 1 car a copy of the Mercedes AMG 2019 car?

No, the 2020 racing point Formula 1 car is not a copy of the 2019 Mercedes car. It was heavily based on the 2019 design and also borrowed many components from the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team. An investigation was also launched into the similarities in the design but apart from the brake ducts, nothing was copied from the Mercedes 2019 car.

Many teams complained about the similarities in design from the beginning of the 2020 Formula One Pre-season. The racing point technical director even stated that the car shares some resemblances in the aerodynamic package but denied that the team copied the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 car design.

After the Redbull Grand Prix, Renault lodged a formal protest against the Racing point formula 2 team. According to Renaut Protest, the Racing point formula1 car was not legal and it must be disqualified. 

The FIA investigation found that apart from the brake duct design rest of the car was designed by the engineers at the racing point factory. The FIA fined the racing point team €400,000 and deducted 15 points from the constructors’ championship.

What are the similarities and differences between the 2020 racing point and the 2019 Mercedes AMG Petronas racing Formula 1 car?

The similarities and the differences between the cars are listed in the table below. Although the racing point and the constructor championship-winning 2019 Mercedes Benz car looked similar, there were many differences in the mechanical design.

Similarities Differences 
Front wing Use of S duct
Aerodynamic surfaces Front suspension setup
Power unitHigher rake concept
Brake ductsBargeboard area
Rear suspension packaging 

The similarities are explained below

The 2020 racing point car used the same front wing design and other aerodynamic surfaces like engine cover and rear diffuser. Mercedes AMG high-performance powertrains provide power units to multiple teams and racing point is one of the teams that used the Mercedes powertrain.

The power unit of the formula 1 car is a very integral part and after the financial struggles and a poor 2019 season, racing point decided to heavily base their formula 1 car on the 2019 Mercedes Benz formula 1 design.

The Mercedes Benz Formula 1 team even provided the design schematics to the racing point team. Instead of using it as a base for development, racing point simply re-engineered the part and used it on their 2020 car.

The brake ducts used for the cooling of the front brake were identical to the 2019 Mercedes Benz car. The drums surrounding the brake discs on the other hand were different. Mercedes 2019 formula 1 car had a more closely packed disc whereas the racing point had a more exposed design.

As the power unit is manufactured by Mercedes, the rear suspension components like wishbone and chamber rods are similar to the 2019 car. The racing point even upgraded to the 2020 suspension components from Mercedes, although some of the parts were manufactured in-house their designs were based on the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 car.

The differences mentioned in the table are explained in detail below:

S duct is used to mitigate the effect of turbulent airflow as it passes over the surface of the front wing. As the air travel downstream reaches the main turning vanes as well as the leading age of the floor. Therefore it is important to separate this turbulent airflow so that it does not affect the overall aerodynamic performance.

The 2020 racing point formula 1 car uses the S duct while Mercedes never implemented it. The front suspension setup of the 2019 Mercedes formula 1 car consists of hydraulically actuated heave springs. 

This allows the 2019 Mercedes formula 1 car to create lesser turbulent airflow as there are no traditional mechanical linkages in the front suspension setup. The 2020 racing point formula 1 car needs the S duct to channel the airflow under the front wing and the opening in the wing towards the upper surface.

This limits the aerodynamic lift created that is not desired as it counteracts the generated downforce. The 2020 racing point formula 1 car also has a higher rake angle compared to the 2019 Mercedes car. The racing point went with the high rake concept because it increases the effective volume of the diffuser and also helps to channel the airflow underneath the floor.

A high rake angle also increases the velocity of the airflow traveling over the floor. This induces a better low-pressure area under the floor and creates more downforce. Mercedes 2019 formula 1 car is essentially a low rake design, it puts less stress on the rear tires in low-speed corners and prevents excessive tire wear. 

There is a risk of understeer on the front wheels but the understeer can be eliminated by using faster downshifts and differential locks to rotate the car in the corner. 

The bargeboard area is also different between the two cars, racing point went with a more traditional design for the side pods and the side impact structure while the Mercedes Benz has a more complex bargeboard structure to improve the airflow around the car.

How many points did the racing point formula 1 team score in the 2020 season?

The racing point formula 1 team won 195 points in the constructors’ championship. Overall the team came 4 in the last standings. Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll drove for the racing point team in the 2020 formula 1 season while Nico Hülkenberg had to step in for the British Grand Prix and the Eifel Grand Prix.

Racing point managed to beat Renault and Ferrari in the 2020 Constructors championship and almost came in the third position if the points were not deducted following an official complaint lodged by Renault over the similarities in the car design.

Conclusion

Many teams criticized the 2020 Racing point formula 1 car, it was also called Pink Mercedes or tracing point due to the similarities between the 2020 and championship-winning 2019 Mercedes car. FIA also introduced a listed parts category, the design and the manufacturing of these parts are controlled by a single manufacturer. It is permissible to base the design on a concept but not allowed to reverse engineer it. 

References

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