Haas’ team boss Guenther Steiner says he’s smiling a ricktus grin about Racing Point’s new RP20 design being strikingly similar to last year’s Mercedes W10.
Racing Point’s new RP20 car is a very similar design to last year’s championship winning W10, as the former Force India team struck out in a new direction from the design concept they used in recent years.
It’s raised eyebrows at some of the midfield teams, including Haas, although team boss Guenther Steiner says he has to accept the copied design.
“I’m happy they’ve copied it, I have to be because it’s not illegal.” Steiner said on Thursday night after the day’s test session. “There’s no point getting upset over something that’s legal. I can be unhappy, that’s it. It’s legal, we make the rules, we’ve got a big part voting for those rules, they were voted like this, so we have to be happy even if we’re unhappy because we can’t do anything about it.”
With Haas themselves not constructing their own chassis, instead buying their chassis from Italian manufacturer Dallara and power units and ancillaries from Ferrari, Steiner says the original plan for Haas when they entered Formula 1 was to purchase customer cars: “That’s what we always wanted, as you know that was our plan in the beginning in 2014 when we applied for the licence, that was part of our plan, if we can we buy cars and we weren’t allowed to.”
Expanding on how he thinks Racing Point’s choice could result in others following suit, Steiner said: “Has it gone too far? I don’t know. I mean, the rules are what they are and they took this opportunity got where they are. The teams are a big part in the strategy group and that what was decided, so I think they’ve done the best for them with what the regulations allow.”
As for Haas’ own racing model, he said: “I’m not unhappy, I’m pretty happy how we’re doing it. If you do something somebody will look into it and if they think it’s a good idea and do it better, that’s what everyone else does. Maybe we need to make the next step and go even further. What do you think about that?”
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal at Williams, weighed in to say that she thinks Racing Point are perfectly within their rights to have taken this route with their RP20: “I wouldn’t criticise another team on the way they go racing, as long as its within regulations. It’s their decision on how they want to go racing, we’re very proud of the fact we’re an independent constructor and design and manufacture our car ourselves. It’s not a model we’re looking to change at the moment. If it works for them this year in the last year of the regulations, then great, but it wouldn’t have worked for us and that’s why we’re continuing on the road we are.”
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