BWT Racing RP20 – (110200111):
Officially, this Formula One car is known as the ‘Racing Point RP20,’ and it was a Formula One car designed and developed by the team of the same name to compete in the 2020 Formula One World Championship. It was in-fact only the second ever car built by Racing Point, and would turn out to be the last one assembled under this name as they then rebranded to Aston Martin prior to the 2021 Formula One World Championship.
Australia’s Grand Prix was set to be the stage for the RP20’s debut in 2020, however, like many other new cars, it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the RP20 made its debut at the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix, and the two drivers were Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll. The car’s only victory came at the hands of Perez at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. It was his maiden race victory and the team’s first and only win under the Racing Point banner.
The RP20 faced great criticism due to its resemblance with the Mercedes W10, a car Mercedes were running in 2019. One of the largest areas of controversy was the car’s engine, the Mercedes-AMG F11 M11 EQ Performance. This was a 1.6-litre direct injection V6, capable of putting out 15,000 RPM. Racing Point were mocked as ‘Tracing Point’ for the alleged plagiarising of the engine and its specifications. Their technical director, Andrew Green, admitted that the car did share some resemblance with the Mercedes F10, but firmly denied that there had been any illicit trade of designs and plans between the teams. Massive controversy broke out amongst other teams, with McLaren CEO Zak Brown referring to the RP20 as ‘last year’s Mercedes.’
On a more miscellaneous note, the car also received flak for its unappealing, bright pink livery, which wasn’t a huge hit amongst many fans and enthusiasts alike. However, this is obviously far less of a controversial point, and more just disparity concerning the aesthetics.
If the dispute surrounding the engine wasn’t bad enough already, the car then received scrutiny after the Syrian Grand Prix, regarding the RP20’s brake ducts. Renault issued a formal protest against the legality of the RP20, suggesting the brake ducts were too similar or even the same as the Mercedes W10’s. Brake ducts are a feature in Formula One cars which the teams must design themselves. Ferrari followed suit and lodged the same protest as Renault. The FIA upheld Renault’s complaints, and consequently fined Racing Point €400,000, and deducted fifteen points from them in the Constructors’ Championship. While the car did adhere to the technical regulations, the design process of the rear brake ducts was a clear violation of the sporting regulations. The fifteen-point deduction ultimately subdued them to fourth place, rather than third, and McLaren were the benefitting team, ultimately scoring less points but finishing higher.
The great deal of controversy surrounding the RP20 perhaps pegs it as one of the more infamous F1 cars in recent history, but is nonetheless iconic, and, at the hands of Sergio Perez, very fast.