Racing Point’s progress last season was limited by its financial woes in 2018, according to team principal Otmar Szafnauer.
The former Force India team went into administration during the summer of 2018, leading to the takeover from a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll and the re-entry of the team as Racing Point. With the team struggling on a financial front, the development of last year’s car was hampered. Szafnauer believes the team’s eventual seventh in the constructors’ championship — behind midfield rivals McLaren, Renault and Toro Rosso — was all it could realistically expect to achieve.
“We were expecting a little bit more from 2019, but not much more. We had to recognize the fact that we had a decent size rule change at a time where (the team) was going bankrupt,” Szafnauer told RACER. “The impact of bankruptcy and financial struggles is the following year because the car was developed a year before.
“So my hopes were to have done a bit better, but the reality of it was we did what we could with the financial struggles we had.”
With the long Formula 1 season stretching to nine months from March to December last year, Szafnauer believes it was easy for the team’s problems in 2018 to be overlooked when analyzing its 2019 form.
“It had a huge impact. There’s a lag between (the financial woes) and what happened on track — a six to 18 month lag, and in it was the big rule change. It’s hard to develop a car when you don’t have the right CFD capabilities, the right CFD levels, no money to make parts for your wind-tunnel model … It was really difficult.”
Racing Point had hoped to strengthen its driver line-up by recruiting Robert Kubica in a reserve driver capacity, but the off-season has seen the Pole take on that position at Alfa Romeo.