BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 19: Owner of Racing Point Lawrence Stroll looks on in the Paddock before the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 19, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Lawrence Stroll: I have never cheated at anything in my life

Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll angrily accused Formula 1 rivals of ‘unsporting behaviour’ on Sunday and rejected suggestions his team had cheated in designing a car based on last year’s title-winning Mercedes.

Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Williams are intending to appeal a stewards’ decision to fine Racing Point 400,000 euros ($471,440) and dock them 15 points in a row over copied parts.

Racing Point, who employ 500 people at their Silverstone factory, say they broke no rules and are also considering an appeal.

“I do not often speak publicly, however I am extremely angry at any suggestion we have been underhand or have cheated — particularly those comments coming from our competitors,” said Stroll, who is also executive chairman of British sportscar maker Aston Martin, in a statement.

“I have never cheated at anything in my life. These accusations are completely unacceptable and not true. My integrity — and that of my team — are beyond question.”

Racing Point’s car has been dubbed the ‘Pink Mercedes’ because of its similarity to the 2019 Mercedes. The two teams have a close relationship, with Mercedes providing their engines and gearboxes.

Williams also use Mercedes engines, as will McLaren next year, but both are independent constructors who risk losing out if smaller outfits can run competitive ‘cloned’ cars.

Racing Point’s stand-in driver Nico Hulkenberg qualified third, behind the two Mercedes, for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

“I am appalled by the way Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams have taken this opportunity to appeal, and in doing so attempted to detract from our performances,” said Stroll.

“They are dragging our name through the mud and I will not stand by nor accept this. My team has worked tirelessly to deliver the competitive car we have on the grid. I am truly upset to see the poor sportsmanship of our competitors.”

Stroll said he would take ‘all necessary actions’ to prove the team’s innocence.