Formula 1’s midfield is expected to be a bloodbath in 2019, with six teams likely to be in the mix and potentially just half a second covering seventh to 18th place in Australia.
Renault is likely to be at the head of that midfield pack, but one team that aims to challenge the French marque is Racing Point.
The squad crossed the Atlantic last month, launching its livery in Toronto, Canada, before heading to Barcelona for pre-season testing, where it ran a heavily modified 2018 car.
After eight days, Lance Stroll and Sergio Pérez finished down the order in just 14th and 18th fastest. The team low on distance, too, completing 625 laps overall, 565 behind benchmark Mercedes.
But, a wide-ranging upgrade package for Melbourne and a season-long flow of new parts could put it back in the competitive mix and help it to return to fourth in the standings.
SOUNDBITE (English) ANDREW GREEN,
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, RACING POINT:
“We want to be that team that beats people that we shouldn’t. And we want to get on those podiums more often, and we think we can do that now. We’ve been given the opportunity and we’re grasping it with both hands. We really are.”
Pérez is expected to lead the charge in this his ninth season in F1, while Stroll is now under maximum pressure to step up…
…especially with the team needing every point possible against resurgent, and in most cases better resourced, rivals.
SOUNDBITE (English) OTMAR SZAFNAUER,
TEAM PRINCIPAL, RACING POINT:
“You’ve got Renault spending all sorts of money, [with] twice the people we have. McLaren shouldn’t be where they are, they’ll be strong. Williams shouldn’t be where they are. Haas has shown they can do the job with a little bit of help from Ferrari.”
It’s an exciting time for the British team, its factory located just a stone’s throw from the Silverstone Circuit… where the outfit, in former iterations, has tested so many of its cars.
Flush with funds, and with factory expansion plans on the horizon, things are starting to accelerate at Racing Point.