Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll’s investment in buying Force India and renaming it Racing Point saved the team, says team principal Otmar Szafnauer...
SOUNDBITE (English) OTMAR SZAFNAUER
RACING POINT TEAM PRINCIPAL
‘I’m proud of the fact that through the most difficult times, almost all the team members stayed together.”
Technical Director Andy Green saw the teams optimism.
SOUNDBITE (English) ANDY GREEN
RACING POINT TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
“It’s something really special going on in the team at the moment. It all happened over the last summer and there’s a real buzz, there’s a real excitement in the team. We really just want to go out and show people what we can do.”
Stroll ended his involvement with Williams and moved son Lance across to partner Sergio Perez, who extended his contract. The Mexican has now driven for the team for six consecutive seasons.
At the time of Stroll’s investment, the 2019 car had already been laid down, on a minimal budget. It meant that the RP19 chassis started the season behind the game.
That led to a true season of two halves. Perez only scored points in three of the first dozen races. But, after the mid-season upgrades came through, he scored in eight of the last nine. Breathlessly cracking the top 10 in the drivers’ championship on the last lap of the last race in Abu Dhabi.
Perez finished sixth in both Baku and Spa. But the team’s best result actually came from Stroll in the hectic mixed conditions German race.
The nucleus of Racing Point is a bunch of F1 stalwarts dating back beyond the early days of Jordan Grand Prix in the early nineties. Excluded in 2018 for its mid-season ownership change, the team has always made the most of a meagre budget, finishing fourth in the constructors’ championship in 2016 and 2017.
With the first half of the ‘19 season necessarily fought under budgetary constraint, a drop to 7th in the final championship classification was the result. But the end-of-season form was a lot more indicative of the team’s future potential.