McLaren Defend Decision To Trial Mercedes-Inspired Nose

The 2020 F1 copygate saga was put to bed after Racing Point and rival teams withdrew their appeals.

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, has defended the Woking-based team’s trialling of a new nose at Mugello which was inspired by the Mercedes W11.

McLaren drew flak for copying Mercedes’ design, with critics arguing that it was hypocritical of the team to develop and run the nose as they had filed an appeal to the FIA over Racing Point’s Mercedes-inspired rear brake ducts.

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However, as Brown stressed, there are key differences between their Mercedes-inspired nose design and what Racing Point did.

“Well, one, it is an experimental nose. Two, everything we do at McLaren we design and produce ourselves,” Brown said in a recent interview.

“I think everyone’s spoken about how you take inspiration and learn from what other people are doing out there. At the end of the day, it’s a nose, not a car. We had over 10 million drawings of that nose.”

In the same interview, Brown said he is “surprised” that Racing Point decided to withdraw its appeal against the FIA’s ruling which saw the Silverstone-based team docked 15 points in the Constructors’ Championship and handed a €400,000 fine.

“I was surprised they withdrew, because he was going to go through with it to clear their name of any wrongdoing.

“So [it was a] big change they withdrew. That was inconsistent with what he said his intentions were,” he added, pointing to Lawrence Stroll’s earlier comments about wanting to clear Racing Point’s name.

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Separately, Brown praised the FIA for quickly acting on the matter and clarifying the rules to prevent teams from copying each other in a similar fashion in the future.

“It was very important, and I’m glad to see they addressed it quickly, and they’re taking it serious.

“More than anything, you need to know what are the rules. So whatever the rules are, we all play by them.

“I think the issue everyone had with that was, ‘wait a minute: what’s been done, I think we all thought was against the rules or the spirit of the sport.’

“So if there’s been loopholes, let’s close those so we don’t have multiple championships going on.

“I think the FIA didn’t like what they saw, they’re on the case. And I think that’s a good thing.”

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