The cheating controversy that has dominated debate during this year's Formula One season has taken a dramatic new twist.
F1 stewards recently fined Racing Point $US473,000, stripped them of 15 points in the constructors’ championship and issued a reprimand after upholding a Renault protest about the legality of their rival’s car.
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The Racing Point car is a visual copy of last year's Mercedes, who provide the engines and gearbox, and the argument is about the essence of being a constructor and how much of the car has to be designed in-house.
Renault has consistently argued that the brake ducts used by Racing Point are an exact copy of those used by Mercedes during last year's championship-winning season.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner last week weighed in on the issue by suggesting that if Racing Point were in breach of the rules then so too were Mercedes.
"For us it’s that there is a bigger picture to this,” Horner said, according to AutoSport.
“It’s not just about brake ducts, it’s about what is philosophically allowed, and what isn’t.
“Regarding Mercedes, I’m sure those questions will get asked, because if the team in question are guilty of receiving, surely the team that has provided has also been in breach of those regulations?
“That’s something for the FIA.”
Mercedes at centre of new allegations
A former F1 team boss has now echoed Horner's sentiment, levelling explosive allegations about the role Mercedes have played in the controversy.
Colin Kolles - who was the team principle at the Jordan and Midland outfit which later became known as Racing Point - claims Mercedes provided the intellectual property to be copied and that it would be impossible to do so simply by studying photographs.
“From photos, you cannot copy a car,” Kolles told German TV network Sport 1.
“It’s not just about the brake ducts. It’s about the whole concept of the car. It was not just copied from photos.
“(It’s more than) just parts, they also had certain data.
“They had, so I was told, a 60 per cent wind tunnel model and a (full size) show car as a template, from which parts were scanned and then converted into CAD (computer aided design) data.
“Otherwise the concept could not work.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has consistently denied any wrongdoing by his team or Racing Point.
"We have not been protested. We have done nothing wrong," Wolff said recently.
"I strongly believe that Racing Point has done nothing wrong.
"Obviously our reputation is very important, but it is intact.
"If someone thinks that we have done something wrong, they should protest, and we're happy to go to court."
The row over Racing Point’s car is heading to court after rivals Ferrari and Renault confirmed they were appealing a stewards’ decision on the matter.
Racing Point - who have repeatedly insisted they've done nothing wrong - also confirmed their intention to take the matter to the International Court of appeal.