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Teams urge FIA to properly police staff rotation

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Teams urge FIA to properly police staff rotation
By:
Co-author: Luke Smith
Feb 24, 2020, 1:46 PM

The FIA has been urged to ensure that Formula 1 teams are not illegally sharing information between each other by rotating staff.

The focus on team co-operation has been thrust back into the spotlight with Racing Point having taken inspiration from Mercedes' design to create its RP20.

But while there are no suggestions that the team has breached the rules with its car, the Silverstone-based outfit says it is actually concerned about other teams going beyond what is allowed by pooling together resource.

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Racing Point technical director Andy Green said: "The bit that really upset and still upsets us about what goes on, is the transfer of information that can and does happen between the big team and the small team. That is circumventing the regulation. That's the bit we don't [like]."

Following close analysis of the Haas model when it entered F1, restrictions were put in place to ensure that personnel could not swiftly move around teams and transfer intellectual property.

But Green suggests that the rules may not be strictly followed by all teams, and that some information could still be getting moved around

"It was brought to a head in Abu Dhabi I think a couple of years ago, with people rotating from one team to another, from the big team to the small team, back to the big team again," he said.

"That's the bit that upsets us. That's the bit that we would never contemplate doing, and never will.

"I think it makes sense for us to be supplied with some hardware, but it's only a limited amount of hardware, this is not the whole car hardware, this is just some parts beyond what we've always had from Mercedes, so I think it's taking that and turning it to our advantage, and doing what is best for us. But what we don't like is when people try to circumvent the regulations.

He added: "We all know what was happening. And whether it's still happening or not, who knows, because we don't get a straight answer."

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl says there are no suggestions that Racing Point has breached the rules with its design, but he has concerns over the longer term impact if teams are able to get around restrictions on sharing information.

"I assume that everything that is happening there [at Racing Point] is legal and allowed by the regulation, so there's no point to complain about it," he explained.

"What is a lot more important for us as McLaren, is that looking into '21 and beyond, we need to make sure that by, let's say, cooperation of two teams, you do not go around the rules and, for example, increase your resources by, for example, personnel rotating between two teams.

"I am confident that FIA and Formula 1 is aware about that, and that is important for us.

"When the budget limitation is coming in, we need to make sure that it's actually a limitation and it's the same limitation for everyone.

"It doesn't matter if you have a cooperation with other teams – which is okay and is also allowed by the regulations on certain topics – but when it comes down to the things like monocoque, aerodynamics and do on, where you're clearly not allowed to work together. It is important for me this is properly policed from '21 onwards."

 
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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble