Right from its Toronto launch, where its new driver line-up of Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll unveiled an updated livery and 2019-spec front wing, Racing Point has been bullish about its future prospects.
…with very ambitious targets to match.
SOUNDBITE (English) SERGIO PÉREZ,
F1 DRIVER, RACING POINT F1:
“We are aiming for at least fourth this year. When you consider the level of competition that is in the midfield, with such big teams around, big manufacturers, it’s not going to be easy. But this team has done it before. I will be very pleased if we can have a couple of podiums as well. And yeah, have a great season, and why not - our first victory together.”
But the squad currently sits eighth in the standings after three rounds, on seven points – well in-touch with the rest of the midfield, Renault and Alfa Romeo Racing just five points ahead.
To get back to fourth place, it needs consistent double points finishes – which is something only the top teams have achieved so far, but moving forward will be Stroll’s biggest test.
He has a solid car to work with, though, with Pérez rocketing from 12th on the grid to eighth on lap one in Shanghai - a place that he kept to the flag.
And it was a moment to celebrate, with the Silverstone-based outfit racking up its 500th Grand Prix since Phoenix 1991, when it began as Jordan, on the weekend F1 celebrated the 1000th Grand Prix.
And while the team dreams of podiums, its last scored in Azerbaijan 2018, and opportunistic grabs still a realistic proposition – wins will likely have to wait while the team rebuilds and expands…
… with China marking 300 races since Giancarlo Fisichella’s famous win in Brazil in contentious circumstances for Jordan in 2003, a record for the longest wait of any “franchise” in F1 history.
SOUNDBITE (Italian) GIANCARLO FISICHELLA,
F1 DRIVER, 1996-2009:
“Interlagos represented my first win in Formula 1, although there was a red flag, and I was given the second place because of an error lap. After a week, this mistake was acknowledged.”
The core team behind Racing Point has always punched above its weight, dating back almost three decades, but it now has to up its game if it’s to deliver on its targets and get back to giant killing performances.