McLaren CEO Zak Brown says he was ‘surprised’ Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll withdrew his Formula 1 brake duct ruling appeal just weeks after vowing to clear his name.

Racing Point was docked 15 constructors’ championship points and fined 400,000 Euros after being found guilty by the FIA of having used Mercedes-designed brake ducts.

That decision, allied to rivals Renault, McLaren, Williams and Ferrari initially appealing the verdict, prompted an outspoken statement from team owner Stroll in declaring that he did not accept the FIA’s ruling.

“I do not often speak publicly, however I am extremely angry at any suggestion we have been underhand or have cheated,” said the Canadian.

“Particularly those comments coming from our competitors.

“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. Everyone at Racing Point was shocked and disappointed by the FIA ruling and firmly maintain our innocence.”

Racing Point lodged its own appeal against the verdict, but eventually decided to back down and not take the matter further.

Brown, whose team withdrew its own appeal in the wake of the FIA agreeing to tighten the rules to prevent anyone copying again to the extent that Racing Point did, said that he thought Stroll would see out the appeal since he felt so strongly about it.

“I was surprised they withdrew, because he was going to go through with it to clear their name of any wrongdoing,” explained Brown.

“So big change, they withdrew. That was inconsistent with what he said his intentions were.”

Brown said that he was happy that the FIA reacted in the way it did to promise changes to the regulations in a bid to prevent copycats becoming the norm in F1.

“It was very important, and I’m glad to see they addressed it quickly, and they’re taking it serious,” he said.

“More than anything, you need to know what are the rules? So whatever the rules are, we all play by them.

“I think the issue everyone had with that was, ‘wait a minute: what’s been done, I think we all thought was against the rules or the spirit of the sport.’

“So if there’s been loopholes, let’s close those so we don’t have multiple championships going on.

“I think the FIA didn’t like what they saw, they’re on the case. And I think that’s a good thing.”

McLaren’s stance on the Racing Point affair, with it clear copying rivals should not be tolerated, prompted some to question why the Woking-based team tested out a Mercedes-style nose at the recent Tuscan GP.

Asked if he felt it was slightly hypocritical to copy a Mercedes idea, Brown said: “Well one, it is an experimental nose. Two, everything we do at McLaren we design and produce ourselves.

“I think everyone’s spoken about how you take inspiration and learn from what other people are doing out there. At the end of the day, it’s a nose, not a car. We had over 10 million drawings of that nose.”

Brown’s comment about the number of drawings is in contrast to one of Racing Point’s defences over it brake ducts, as it argued it had more than 800 drawings of its design.