Racing Point is expecting new charge Lance Stroll to take on established gun Sergio Pérez more and more as the 2019 season moves on.
Team principal Otmar Szafnauer called the Canadian a “gutsy racer” after he brought home the squad’s only points in Australia, two for ninth, though contact on Lap 1 in Bahrain destroyed a repeat.
…with Pérez getting the final point for 10th, his first for the 2019 season.
But while Racing Point expects that teammate battle to properly intensify, many remain unconvinced with Stroll painted as the ultimate ‘pay driver’ villain, something the squad has railed against.
"I think over time that will change. He will get the credit,” Szafnauer said. “Because he's good. He's very good.”
And it’s easy to forget that Stroll has already started on the front row, and finished on the podium – something the man he replaced at Racing Point, Esteban Ocon, is yet to do.
SOUNDBITE (English): LANCE STROLL,
“We had some tough times which is part of a rookie season but we have had some incredible highlights. I’ve surpassed my expectations and I’ve achieved goals that I’d set out for the next few years, starting on the front row, getting on the podium, we’ve scored a lot of world championship points.”
2018 was a year to forget for Williams, let alone for Stroll, given the dire car that was the FW41. But, the backlash from fans on him replacing the much-loved Ocon at Racing Point – a team now owned by a consortium led by his father Lawrence Stroll – was understandably huge.
… meaning he needs to keep delivering top results to turn things around, and re-earn his stripes in the sport at this new higher level.
But Stroll – who is nothing if not earnest – knew what joining Racing Point could offer him from the outset.
SOUNDBITE (English) LANCE STROLL,
F1 DRIVER, RACING POINT:
“It’s a chance for me to bring my driving to the next level, [and] it’s an opportunity to work with some great engineers, great group of people - so I’m going to embrace it.”