SILVERSTONE, Great Britain -- McLaren and Ferrari suspect Racing Point's breach of Formula One's regulations may go deeper than the stewards' decision issued on its brake ducts.
FIA stewards found that the design process of Racing Point's rear brake ducts was in breach of F1's sporting regulations as they were based on the design of last year's Mercedes. The verdict saw Racing Point fined €400,000 and docked 15 points in the championship, but ruled the team would be allowed to continue using the same design for the rest of the season without further punishment.
Renault, which lodged the original protests against Racing Point, is considering appealing the decision and Ferrari and McLaren are also planning to review the decision in detail.
However, the brake duct controversy has shone additional light on the overall design of the Racing Point, which is remarkably similar to last year's Mercedes. Racing Point claims it used photographs of last year's Mercedes to reverse engineer its car design, but its rivals are sceptical such a feat is possible.
"I think it's very difficult or likely impossible," Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said. "If it has never happened in 70 years of Formula One it means that somehow it is not an idea that somebody simply thought about today.
"We believe it is not possible to copy and simply understand the full concept behind the car. It is something that, again we have said in a letter to the FIA, that we really argue the entire concept and entire process, we believe that the regulations are clear enough and we believe there may be a breach of regulation in that process.
"But at the moment we are looking ahead and looking forward and it's something on which we need to clarify. I don't think that the verdict of today is sufficient because it is only relevant to the brake ducts and not the entire concept, so I think it is only the tip of the iceberg but there is much to further discuss.
"But if it has never happened so far in the history of Formula One it means somehow it is almost impossible to do it."
McLaren CEO Zak Brown agreed.
"If it was that easy it would have been done before. The sport has been around a long time.
"The engineers and designers do take inspiration from different things they see on other cars, but to be able to replicate a car as they have done, everything that I've been told by people who are much smarter than me on this topic, say there is no way you could do it with the degree of accuracy that they can.
"I think the brake ducts and the revealing that they had information beyond photography just begs the question of what else wasn't done via photography?"
Williams deputy team principal, Claire Williams, also raised concerns about the impact Racing Point's improved performance would have on the midfield battle in the championship, considering prize money is tied to the results of the constructors' championship.
"There are wider implications for this if a car is in breach but able to race with those parts. Whenever we take our car [to scrutineering] and the FIA says 'that part is not quite right, you've got two races or whatever to rectify it' then that should be the case in this circumstance.
"The very fact they are allowed to continue race has much broader implications on teams further down the grid when it comes to prize fund money, the order of the championship and I'm not sure I agree with that."