Racing Point needs to find more performance from its recent aerodynamic upgrade at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix to move up the grid, concedes team principal Otmar Szafnauer.
The former Force India team introduced a major update at the season-opening race in Australia, having completed pre-season testing with a launch specification car. While Lance Stroll dropped out in Q1 and Sergio Perez advanced to Q3, it was Stroll who scored points in the race, finishing ninth. Szafnauer says the way the two drivers’ weekends panned out highlights the need to get more performance from the new parts.
“Melbourne confirmed that every tenth counts — both in qualifying and the race,” Szanfauer said. “We’ve got some improvements coming for Bahrain, but the main task will be extracting more from the new aero package we introduced in Melbourne. Bahrain will give us a better indication of where we stand because it’s a much more traditional circuit compared to the stop-start layout of Melbourne.
“I’d expect to see some exciting racing this weekend up and down the grid. We learned a huge amount in Melbourne and will use that information to improve our performance level in Bahrain. At this stage of the year we just need to be consistent and keep picking up the points.”
While Stroll kicked off his career with his new team by scoring points in Melbourne, the Canadian says the result shouldn’t overshadow what a challenge Racing Point is facing in the midfield.
“It was great to pick up a couple of points at the first race of the season,” Stroll said. “It was one of those days where we had to fight from start to finish with no let-up. Good fun and close racing. Our strategy really paid off and we had good race pace.
“Two points are important, but we came away from Melbourne knowing there’s lots of work to do. We knew the midfield had closed up, but there was just half a second covering about 10 cars in qualifying. Every tenth is going to count this weekend as well.”