Alpine Executive Director Marcin Budkowski expects the FIA to keep a very close eye on Formula 1 teams collaborating on their 2022 machines.
F1 will introduce a new set of technical regulations with the hope of producing more wheel-to-wheel action and the potential to shake up the pecking order. Work on next year's cars began from as early as January for some teams, knowing that the regulations will be in place for multiple seasons beyond 2022.
"Clearly going into 2022, a massive change in regulations, big development slope, lots of performance being gained on these cars, [a] very green fresh set of regulations. The benefits you can get from collaboration, whether it's legal or less so, are massive," Budkowski told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press.
"If there's a year where these kinds of collaborations can pay off, it's this year, for 2022. So clearly, if there's a year where we expect the FIA to be really all over it, it's this year."
Last year, Racing Point caused controversy with a car that looked similar to the title-winning 2019 Mercedes. Alpine, then called Renault, protested against Racing Point's brake ducts after the Styrian, Hungarian and British Grands Prix, arguing they had been illegally copied from Mercedes.
Racing Point were docked 15 Constructors' points and fined 400,000 euros. Budkowski was asked by RacingNews365.com how concerned he was about the possibility of a repeat of the Racing Point saga for 2022.
"I don't know what's going on in other people's factories, and I don't know what level of scrutiny the FIA is putting on this," Budkowski explained.
"Us as an independent team, obviously we don't come under scrutiny of sharing anything with our competitors, because it would be against our own interests.
"Normally we are all competitors. The Formula 1 I think we'd all like to see is 10 teams or 11, or 12, in the future, that just fight each other mercilessly and are just there for their own sporting success.
"From the moment that teams have a common interest in exchanging information, that's a problem, because it shouldn't be the case, you shouldn't be helping your competitors.
"So there's a concern there but I can't say how much. I'm not going to accuse people because effectively I don't know. And I hope that there is nothing happening."
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