Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll defends team and hits out at F1 rivals
"They are dragging our name through the mud and I will not stand by nor accept this," says Canadian billionaire in rare public statement
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 09/08/20 4:14pm
Racing Point's co-owner Lawrence Stroll has launched a robust defence of his team and says any accusations of cheating from rivals are "completely unacceptable", amid the explosive row engulfing F1 over the team's 2020 car.
In a rare public statement from the Canadian billionaire, Stroll says he is "appalled" by the appeal lodged by four teams - Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Williams - against the decision of the stewards handed down to Racing Point at Silverstone on Friday, amid unhappiness from rivals that the FIA should have gone further.
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Racing Point were docked 15 points and fined £361,000 for running rear brake ducts on their current RP20 car which were too similar to the design of those on last year's Mercedes. However, amid a complex case over design process and the change of status of parts for 2020, Racing Point have maintained their innocence and have also lodged an intent to appeal the decision.
With the inter-team row dominating the off-track conversation at Silverstone on a weekend Racing Point again qualified strongly, Stroll made a hard-hitting intervention ahead of Sunday's race.
"I do not often speak publicly, however I am extremely angry at any suggestion we have been underhand or have cheated - particularly those comments coming from our competitors," said the Canadian in a lengthy statement, which he also read in the video above.
"I have never cheated at anything in my life. These accusations are completely unacceptable and not true. My integrity - and that of my team - are beyond question.
"Everyone at Racing Point was shocked and disappointed by the FIA ruling and firmly maintain our innocence."
Stroll: Four appealing rivals 'dragging our name through the mud'
Racing Point were found by stewards to have contravened the sporting regulations, rather than the technical ones, and are free to continue using their contentious brake duct designs without further penalty.
But Stroll is adamant they should have not been punished in the first place and argued "there was no guidance in place by the FIA surrounding the transition of non-listed to listed items and Racing Point received in March 2020 written confirmation from the FIA with regards to our compliance on the matter".
The Canadian says he will do everything to completely clear the team's name, with the matter seemingly heading for the FIA's International Court of Appeal.
"Beyond the clear fact that Racing Point complied with the technical regulations, I am appalled by the way Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams have taken this opportunity to appeal, and in doing so attempted to detract from our performances," added Stroll.
"They are dragging our name through the mud and I will not stand by nor accept this.
"I intend to take all necessary actions to prove our innocence.
"My team has worked tirelessly to deliver the competitive car we have on the grid. I am truly upset to see the poor sportsmanship of our competitors.
"I understand that the situation in which the FIA finds itself is difficult and complicated for many reasons, but I also respect and appreciate their efforts to try and find a solution in the best interests of the sport."
The five teams, including Racing Point, who have lodged they intentions to appeal have until Wednesday to formally lodge their request with the FIA.