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FIA

F1 tweaks rules to prevent copycats

The FIA together with Formula 1 has tweaked the rule book to ensure there isn't a repeat of the 2020 Racing Point car.

Article
To news overview © Clemsie McKenzie

Prior to the start of the 2020 F1 season, the Racing Point team in essence copied Mercedes' title-winning car from 2019. Though the team would be docked 15 points as a punishment for infringing on a brake duct rule, Racing Point were still allowed to race with their car.

The FIA has now amended its rule book to close off any loopholes to ensure the former example isn't repeated in the future.

To start with the term "listed parts" has been replaced with the term "listed components." The complete statement from the FIA reads, "Elements of which the design and intellectual property are the exclusive property of a participating team."

The teams must now submit 3D drawings, designs, simulations and wind tunnel data, in order to show they fall within the parameters of the above ruling.

There is also another provision for teams like Haas, who rely on a third party manufacturer, in this case, Dallara, to assist in the development of their car. The rule states that third party manufacturers are allowed to develop the aforementioned components provided they are not connected to multiple teams.

The FIA and F1 will tolerate the copying of parts that are, "accessible to all other competitors" and "available on race weekends or test days." This implies to any parts that are visible to the naked eye.

The rules also close the loop on reverse engineering these components stating, "Using images or photos, combined with software that can convert them into important information. 3D cameras and other 3D techniques to copy other people's parts are also prohibited, as well as scanning other people's parts and any other techniques that enable reverse engineering."

The FIA will also monitor the situation of the teams closely. If a team is found guilty of breaking these rules they must provide their data and the other pertaining information when the FIA ​​requests for it. The information must be able to demonstrate that the design process of the relevant part has taken place entirely in accordance with the aforementioned rules.

However, given the freeze on development for the 2021 cars, the rules do allow that designs approved for 2019 and 2020 will be valid in 2021. This means the newly branded Aston Martin team doesn't have much to fear heading into this year.

While copying components will nevertheless take place in the future, the tools that are used by teams to make it easier for them to "borrow" designs have been limited.

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