From Road & Track

Welcome to The Grid, R&T’s quick roundup of the auto industry and motorsports news you should know this morning.

Racing Point Thinks Copying Mercedes Was the Right Call

Racing Point Team Boss Otmar Szafnauer hasn’t been shy about the fact the team’s new car is inspired by the Mercedes W10 from last year. He’s not embarrassed, he says that F1 teams have always taken inspiration from each other. And, frankly, based on the fact that the former mid-field team is now beating Ferrari in the Constructor’s Championship, Szafnauer doesn’t seem to understand why no one else thought of this.

He confirmed to Motorsport.com that, in his eyes, the other teams have gotten their philosophy wrong. And while it still took a lot of work to get it to where they are now, switching from a “high-rake” design to a Mercedes-inspired layout has paid off.

“As a matter of fact, when we started developing this in the tunnel, with the ideas that we saw through pictures, we took a huge step backwards,” Szafnauer said, per Motorsport.com. “I mean huge. It was seconds per lap slower in the beginning, and it was our own learning that we did for the development process of CFD and tunnel work, and more designs and redesigns, that got us to the place we did.”

Ford and VW May Suffer From A Korean Supplier’s Battery Dispute

Ford and VW are both sourcing batteries for their upcoming EVs from Korean firm SK Innovation. But now, Automotive News reports that both are warning that a dispute between SK Innovation and LG Chem over alleged trade secret theft could delay products.

The U.S. lawsuit brought by LG Chem seeks to bar SK Innovation from building batteries in the U.S., which would kill its planned Georgia plant. That factory is supposed to supply batteries for VW’s ID4 EV, while a second plant will make batteries for the upcoming electric F-150. Both automakers are warning that if this suit isn’t resolved without forcing SK Innovation out of the U.S., it could have severe consequences on the already-constrained battery industry.

Acura Ends IMSA Partnership With Team Penske

Acura will not renew its partnership with Team Penske in the flagship Daytona Prototype International class of IMSA racing, according to Motorsport. The company originally struck a three-year deal for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons that was expires at the end of the season. It’s unclear whether Acura’s decision to end the partnership means that the company is pulling out of DPi class or IMSA altogether, though we’ve reached out for comment.

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