Aug 10, 2020

Formula 1 copying row rumbles on

Formula 1 has had its fair share of copying rows in the past. Now, however, there is a new lilt to the copying: the copied and the copier are on the same side of the arguments!

There is a rule in F1 that the ‘key parts’ of the car must be of each team’s own design – they can not be purchased from other teams. That has caused the current row. In 2018 and 2019, brake ducts were not a ‘key part’ and so Racing Point was legally supplied with the Mercedes designs and used them. Racing Point, it seemed, continued to use the same brake ducts this season, and that is where the issue lies: brake ducts are now a ‘key part’ and must be designed by each team independently.

F1’s governing body the FIA has already ruled that Racing Point has broken the rules, but also decided that the team can continue to use the part in question. Racing Point is appealing against that decision, but so too are four other teams, each of whom want the punishment increased, and possibly even to bring Mercedes’ conduct in to question, as it supplied Racing Point with new design data in January of this year (after the ‘key parts’ list was updated).

Mercedes has, just today, made its position very clear. It’s principal, Toto Wolff, has said that if any team wants to embroil his team in this issue, it should lodge a ‘protest’ against Mercedes, and he will see them in Court.

Court, it seems, is where this matter is now heading.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about copying and intellectual property rights, please get in touch with the team on 0191 281 4000 or by email at

in: Designs, Digital/Tech, EU/International

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