An Irish poet/playwright Oscar Wilde wrote this quote: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
Can you imitate anything greater than 6-time double world champion, Mercedes? I’ll answer that for you, no.
For Racing Point, this is the first time since their acquisition of Force India in the summer of 2018; they seem to be embracing a new team philosophy for the characteristic of their cars. “Let’s do something different, try something different, start with a clean sheet of paper and let’s do something new.” stated Racing Point’s Technical Director Andrew Green in reference to the last year of the current regulations. “Though we were adding performance to the car [since 2014] and it was getting better, it had this underlying Achilles’ heel that we were really struggling to get rid of… the gains we were making were getting slower and slower; the fundamental characteristic of the car wasn’t changing.”
Now, referencing the featured image, I think the similarities are pretty clear. The rounded nose piece, the shape of the front wings, side pods, and even the mirrors have the same angles. The only difference I can see with my “technical expertise” is the size and shape of the rear wing.
When responding to the comparisons between Racing Point’s “RP20 and the Mercedes “W10” that won both the 2019 driver’s and constructor’s championships, Sergio Perez said, “I hope it will perform like their car, but it is still very early days.”
When questioned about the similarities, Andrew Green defended his creation by stating, “I can tell you absolutely, categorically all those designs are Racing Point from absolute scratch, there has been no transfer of information on listed parts from Mercedes. They have never contemplated it, we have never asked for it.” Green has emphasized that what is seen as similarities between the two cars is composed of photos that are accessible to everyone, and they “utilized that information.”
Racing Point has been open in disclosing that the “RP20” will be using the front and rear suspension pieces from last year’s Mercedes but assure us that the chassis is all original. Green told Autosport Magazine, “We decided that anything to do with the chassis – which is effectively a non-transferable component, a listed part – we would prefer to keep all that in house, because it’s all linked.”
This car is an original chassis that is influenced heavily by the successful Mercedes “W10” with no substantial information given to them from their technical partners of Mercedes. Now, I do not doubt that their mid-team rivals of McLaren and Renault might have something negative say about this; but if you are Racing Point, was there anything left to lose? If this works, they stay ahead of their mid-team rivals. If not, then the 2021 regulations will have everyone on a theoretical, even playing field.
The world of motorsports is a “monkey see, monkey do” business, and if the pre-season test was anything to go by, Racing Point is trying to do.
photo credit: Motorsports Network