Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer is confident the added funding his team has this year will allow it to make major gains in the development race.
New aerodynamic regulations were introduced in 2019 with the aim of making it easier for a car to closely follow the car ahead in order to produce better racing. Those changes had a major impact on the car’s design due to new front wings, bargeboards and rear wings, and while Szafnauer expects that this season’s development curve will be steep, he is optimistic Lawrence Stroll’s ownership will allow Racing Point to excel given its additional resources.
“You know we had a big regulation change, so the way I view this year – and probably next as well – is it’s going to be a development race,” Szafnauer said. “The fact that we have funding now to bring the developments to the car as quickly as our internal procedures will allow is a big benefit.
“We won’t be hampered by not having the funds to buy components, so that will be a benefit. But the real issue is bringing developments to the car that make a performance enhancement, a performance difference, and that’s what we’re focusing on doing.”
The Spanish Grand Prix is likely to feature a number of upgrades brought by all the teams as they traditionally target the start of the European season. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez has already pinned his hopes on a new package the team is due to introduce.
Racing Point got off to a relatively slow start, but a double points finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix moved it up to fifth in the constructors’ championship, one point behind McLaren. Szafnauer predicts the midfield battle will prove even more competitive than in recent seasons, with the likes of Renault and Haas having struggled to put points on the board so far.
“I believe this year it’s even tighter than years past, and for us to get on top means we have to do everything right,” he said. “And you know the margins are smaller, so pit stops have to be quick and precise, the drivers have to do a great job in qualifying and the race – you know it’s all the details you have to get right when margins are that tight. Little details matter all the more.”