Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer feels they out-developed its main rivals in 2019 F1 season but it was not by much in the end.
One crucial element of a F1 season is car development, as teams need to improve their machine throughout the season to stay ahead of rivals. While their performance overall was average by their standards, Racing Point feels they excelled in the development run.
After the change of hands mid-way in the 2018 season with new owners coming in, Racing Point didn’t have the finance sorted out to work on the 2019 car, which is why they lagged behind their rivals, especially at the start of the new F1 season.
The first races for Racing Point could be described as troublesome, particularly in qualifying, but as the weeks passed, the Mercedes-powered outfit began starring in more and more Q3 sessions, as their race-day performance picked up as well.
“The season was not as well as we usually do, it was very tight in the midfield but it was understandable as last year when we started developing the car, we had big financial issue and so, I am not overall surprised,” said Szafnauer to media including FormulaRapida.net.
“But looking forward, we are very encouraged and also encouraged by the fact that we learnt a lot this year and in trying years, sometimes you learn more than ones where it all comes to you and the whole team will be much stronger next year.
“I think we kept performance [in 2019] and we out-developed [our rivals] little bit more but not by much. If you look at where we started and where we finished, at the beginning of the year we weren’t getting into Q3 at all.
“But by the end, in every race, we get a chance to be in Q3 and sometimes if we didn’t then we are around there. At the beginning we weren’t getting out of Q1 [even]. So, we did out-develop some of our competitors in the midfield.
“We can’t double the development rate because to do that then within three years we are well past them. The winter months gives you opportunity to out-develop, things change quickly, especially if there is a regulation change which we had between 2018-2019 when we had no ability to develop.”
The team’s technical head Andrew Green somewhat agreed with his boss Szafnauer but added that their hands were tied as the rest of grid is also developing as much as Racing Point were, which always makes things a bit more difficult.
“We did our best to develop our way out of it, but the grid isn’t stationery and everybody is developing at the same time,” he said. “As much as we were adding performance to our car, so is everybody else, so we couldn’t out-develop with the package.”
Looking at 2020, Szafnauer feels that there should be no excuse for Racing Point to not perform and compete for fourth as they used to do before. The team has made several hiring in 2019 and has improved its facilities with CFD and more.
Here’s Lance Stroll on getting his qualifying better
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Here’s what Otmar Szafnauer said regarding having Nico Hulkenberg as sim driver
Here’s Sergio Perez on how F1 2019 underwent, aims for F1 2020
The article was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani