New Racing Point car ‘not a clean slate’, launches Feb 17

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images/LAT

New Racing Point car ‘not a clean slate’, launches Feb 17

Formula 1

New Racing Point car ‘not a clean slate’, launches Feb 17


Racing Point has confirmed that its 2020 car will launch on February 17 in Austria but says the new design will not be a significant change from its predecessor, despite new financial freedom during its development.

Financial trouble led to the former Force India team entering administration and being rebranded Racing Point after being taken over by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll. While extra resources were instantly available, team principal Otmar Szafnauer says this year’s car is the first that will be fully developed with those finances but that doesn’t mean the car will be radically different.

“It’s not a clean slate because the regulations haven’t changed,” Szafnauer told RACER. “We started on the 2020 car in earnest in July, so hopefully that switch over quite early will help us, but it is a continuation.

“The regulations don’t change, so I don’t know if that helps or hurts us, but we have to just develop at a quicker rate over the winter than some of our midfield competitors — that’s going to be the trick. But I think we did that over the latter half of 2019, so if that continues then we should be in good shape.”

Szafnauer admits it will be a challenge to outdevelop the likes of McLaren and Renault due to their budgets and starting position, but says Racing Point showed what it is capable of by how clearly it improved last year’s car.

“The positive thing is the beginning-of-the-year car was developed in our financial troubles; the rest of the year when we were starting to update it was with our new financial structure, so we had enough money to improve the car.

“The nice thing is, although it was very, very tight in the midfield, in Abu Dhabi we were best of the rest. So the last race of the year, Checo (Perez) finished seventh, best of the rest, everyone ahead of Checo was in a top three team. That gives me hope and encouragement for 2020.”

The new Racing Point car will be unveiled at the headquarters of sponsor BWT in Austria on February 17, two days before the start of pre-season testing. That follows confirmed launches for Ferrari in Italy on February 11, Renault in Paris the following day, McLaren at its Woking headquarters on February 13 and both Mercedes and AlphaTauri — the latter also in Austria — on February 14.