Tracing Point - Who really cares?
In a sport with spiralling costs soon to be capped, why does everybody jump on creative approaches to closing the gap?
Maybe I'm a bit late to the party, but something that's been a little bit of a non-starter for me is Racing Point's "Pink Mercedes". Many and mostly Renault have been a little salty about the speedy pointy cars of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll. However, is it time we start accepting F1 for what it is in the current climate?
To me there seems to be a lot of this "purist" train of thought when it comes to "copying" a car. The purist says "F1 teams innovate and design their own cars!", co-incidentally, the same purists want the sport to go back to humbler beginnings. It's always better in the 80's isn't it?
The thing is though, you can't have it both ways.
We have to acknowledge that teams copy methods and ideas from each other, it's just how the sport works. This goes back to the beginning of time, turbo, ground effects, double diffusers ...x-wings. You name it, teams copied it off each other. Now one thing we should acknowledge is that the team in question also has super close ties to their engine supplier, Mercedes.
It's a little bit odd to me that nobody questions Haas for doing similar things or using parts from their "parent team", Ferrari. While some have pointed this out, I think there's something else at play here. Ferrari as far as I know, have nobody with the surname Stroll. I think this is where a little hypocrisy comes in amongst some of the purists.
We have to acknowledge in 2020 that F1, a sport hit by the current pandemic with McLaren securing a Middle Eastern loan and Williams up for sale, that teams need to get creative. Economically the world isn't the same place, F1 teams have come and gone in the fight to stay on the grid. Hell, manufacture have come and gone, come back or flat out refuse to enter the world's premier motorsport series.
So when a team like Racing Point, which has a history of being a grifting outfit since the Jordan days gets a little creative with a few lines and strokes on a CAD machine, you love to see it. If the huge manufactures like Renault actually had some of that creativity in their R&D ranks, they might see a little bit more progress than they have in recent years.
For me, in a sport that's looking to get a little more homogenous with the 2022 regulations, there will undoubtably be creative ways of getting around those too. Though I wonder if people will have as much of a problem with it if Williams bit their pride and did the same thing and suddenly found themselves locking out second and third rows again?
In essence, when a sport is leaking money and struggling to field 10 teams we should welcome more creativity from F1 teams. If teams like HRT and Marussia had a chance for this kind of creativity 10 years ago, they might still be a thing or at the very least, lasted slightly longer than they did.
From a designer perspective, F1 needs more of this. After all it drives innovation, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time.