We’ve seen the 2019 cars stationary. Now they’re up and running during an initial test that will tell each team a great deal about the effectiveness of their own creation. The rest of us will learn next to nothing at all.
There will be speculative twittery and intense video analysis of every trailing vortex and overhanging strake, but the true state of the F1 nation will not begin to emerge until qualifying in Melbourne and 58 laps of Albert Park the following day. Which leaves us with a couple of random thoughts generated by what little we’ve seen over the past few days.
A launch that was surprisingly good to watch came from the team that is the most difficult to enunciate. There had been a lot of negative equity attached to what is now SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team, particularly after the former Force India was taken over by a wealthy sponsor who then parachuted in his son at the expense of Esteban Ocon. The wisdom of that decision will be decided unequivocally by Lance Stroll’s lap times when matched against Sergio Perez during the coming months. Chances are Lance is going to miss having Sergey Sirotkin in the other car.
In the meantime, the unmistakable tone was one of optimism rising from a more genuine source than the usual sound-bite propaganda pulled from the air at these launches. Apart from learning that the Silverstone-based team now has ‘unprecedented investment’, we were told that the entire operation is a ‘New book; not a new chapter. This is a seismic change.’
When those words come from Andrew Green, it’s worth paying attention to a technical director known for discreet assessments that are as solid as his engineering skill. Green has a quiet but impressive history stretching back more than 20 years to his part in Gary Anderson’s Jordan 191, a car known for its efficient simplicity and beauty.
As such, Green is perfectly qualified to explain a money-can’t-buy ethos that ensured not one person left Force India despite lengthy uncertainty as Indian authorities were increasingly intent on having a serious chat over a bottle or two of beer with the team’s former owner.
Rather than being forced to live from month to month and continuously put development on hold, the Racing Point team is now in a position to improve their car throughout the season. That’s got to create concern among mid-field rivals winded in the past by a team consistently punching above its weight.
The pink colour scheme – a change from the various blues and blacks spread through the pit lane – remains in deference to principal sponsor BWT although the addition of SportPesa blue to the existing livery mish-mash is hardly easy on the eye. Of course, looks won’t amount to a hill of Kingfisher dung if the RP19 takes SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team to P4, their target position in the championship.
Will the achieving of such eager ambition by a mouthful of a name be easier done than said? Who knows. The only certainty so far is that Lawrence Stroll has saved one of the sport’s biggest little teams. That’s very good news for Formula 1, never mind the dedicated and rejuvenated workforce at Dadford Road, Silverstone.