Perez and Stroll insist Racing Point on brink of 'biggest jump'

Team mates Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll believe that 2020 could see Racing Point’s competitiveness and performance make the biggest improvement of anyone on the grid.

“There is very big, huge potential in this team,” Perez told Motorsport.com. “I don’t think there is a team that can grow as much as this one already.

“I think the momentum, it’s with us. Things are looking great,” he added. “It is a big year coming up for us.”

In its previous incarnation as Force India, the team twice finished as ‘best of the rest’ in fourth place in the constructors standings in 2016 and 2017 before financial problems caused the team to drop to seventh place in 2018

That year saw the team saved after going into administration. Despite new owners taking over and more funding becoming available for development, the renamed squad still found it tough going in 2019.

Perez hopes that the team is over the transition and that the toughest times are now behind them, as he looks forward to the new campaign.

“It’s absolutely the first year where we will see the new administration of the team get into play,” he explained. “I think this season [2019], the way I see this, we kind of expected to have a bit of a setback.”

The Mexican driver added that the upcoming overhaul of the sport’s technical regulations next year could also help give Racing Point the chance to find its way back to the top of the midfield again.

“2021 is a big opportunity for us to mix with the big boys,” he insisted.

Lance Stroll (CDN) Racing Point F1 Team RP19 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point F1 Team RP19 battle for position.                                03.11.2019. F

Perez’ confidence is matched by that of his young team mate, whose father Lawrence led the corporate buy-out that saved the team.

“I think it is a massive opportunity,” said Lance Stroll. “Everyone’s going to keep working as hard as they can over the winter – that’s the game – but hopefully we will make the biggest jump.

“But it is such a competitive midfield now that we will only find out when when Melbourne comes around,” he admitted.

Stroll – who finished in fourth place in the 2019 German Grand Prix – insisted that the team is much further ahead in its development for 2020 compared to where it was 12 months ago.

“We came into [last] season with some struggles because of where we were this time last year, the troubles that the team had, and that really delayed the process of development.

“Definitely we got a head start on where we were this time last year, so that really does excite me,” he said. “So I really do look forward to [the new season].”

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Racing Point's Szafnauer sees 'great potential' in Stroll

Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer still sees great potential in Lance Stroll despite the Canadian’s rather subdued maiden campaign with the pink outfit in 2019.

Stroll replaced Esteban Ocon at Racing Point at the end of the 2018 season, an inevitable choice for the Silverstone-based squad following its takeover earlier that year by a consortium of investors led by Stroll’s father, billionaire Lawrence Stroll.

The 21-year-old underwent his initiation in F1 with a two-year stint at Williams during which he displayed – despite the team’s depressed form – indisputable talent, proving himself to be a promising contender among the sport’s current generation of young lions.

But in 2019, Stroll struggled to match the performances of teammate Sergio Perez, who comfortably outscored the Canadian in the championship and outpaced him in qualifying trim 18 to 4.

Even so, it was Stroll who delivered the team’s best result of the season with fourth place in wet conditions in Germany, instantly making it the 21-year-old’s strongest season in F1 to date.

“I see great potential, he’s a fast racing car driver,” Szafnauer told RACER, the Racing Point team boss advocating for patience with regard to the Canadian.

“What we’ve got to teach him is the stuff around the edges. We don’t really have to teach him how to drive fast, he’s got that – he’s less than 0.2s per lap slower than Checo in qualifying on average, and race pace is even smaller.

“So it’s not that, it’s all the other stuff that goes along with Formula 1 racing, and you can’t teach that overnight.

“That takes time. He’s had a great first year, scored some good points for the team, and this coming season I’m certain he will be even better.

“He will be on that trajectory – that learning curve, the steep bit of it – so he’ll do even better in 2020.”

Szafnauer also suggests that Stroll – whose talent is still very much a work in progress – was up against a tough opponent sitting on the other side of the Racing Point garage.

“Checo’s done a great job,” added the American. “Lance has done a great job too, but he’s learning, he was in his first year with us.

“Checo’s been here for quite some time and he’s a key member of our team. He knows what we’re about, we don’t have to teach him anymore and he’s done a brilliant job.”

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Perez expecting 'big year ahead' for Racing Point

SportPesa Racing Point’s Sergio Perez is expecting his team to achieve a big step forward in 2020 as it reaps the benefits of the significant changes that were executed by the outfit’s new owner this year.

Force India’s takeover by billionaire Lawrence Stroll during the summer of 2018 was accompanied by an influx of fresh capital that has allowed the pink squad to greatly consolidate its foundation and consider the future with optimism.

However, the team’s big overhaul this year coupled with the fact that Racing Point’s 2019 contender was conceived on last year’s shoestring budget weighed on the Silverstone-based outfit’s results.

The team concluded its campaign 7th in the Constructor’s standings, a fair distance from midfield leader McLaren but close to Renault and Toro Rosso.

But for Perez, this year’s campaign, in which the team showed progress in the second part of the season, was perhaps a case of taking an inevitable step back before moving two steps forward in 2020.

“Although it’s been a very difficult year in terms of pace, a slow start and so on. I cannot wait already for 2020, I think it’s a big year ahead for us. We work very hard,” commented the Mexican, quoted by Crash.net.

“I think we managed to improve step-by-step but obviously not enough. I don’t think we got close enough to McLaren, they were strong this year.

“Renault were a step ahead but it’s been very close to Toro Rosso I think. They obviously did a better job than us and scored plenty of points when the opportunities were there, so that made a huge difference in the midfield when you are able to score big points.”

Given this year’s challenges of stabilizing and improving its foundation for the future while managing the development of its 2019 car, Perez believes that Racing Point succeeded in making the post of the opportunities that came its way.

“We beat other drivers with faster cars and in that regard, we can be pleased,” he said.

“We were done by strategies and sometimes by mistakes from other drivers but we were always there to pick up the pieces and the points and I think we had a very strong second half of the season so we can be pleased with that.
“I can only be pleased with what I’ve achieved,” Perez added as he took stock of his own performance.

“I’ve finished inside the top ten in the drivers’ championship with a car throughout that was not around there.”

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Aston Martin confirms potential investor talks

British luxury supercar manufacturer Aston Martin has confirmed that it is in talks with potential investors as part of a funding review.

A statement from the 106-year-old business came after days of speculation that Racing Point co-owner Lawrence Stroll was interested in taking a stake and bringing the Aston Martin name into F1.

“The Company confirms that is reviewing its funding requirements and various funding options,” the statement read.

“It is also engaged in early stage discussions with potential strategic investors in relation to building longer term relationships which may or may not involve an equity investment.

“A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate,” the statement concluded

Autocar and RaceFans.net broke the news of Stroll’s interest in the company earlier this week, reporting that the Canadian billionaire had held talks with Aston Martin representatives in recent weeks.

Aston Martin is currently the title sponsor of the Red Bull Racing F1 team. However, if Stroll were to become a significant investor then it’s likely that would change and Racing Point may become a fully Aston-branded team.

Aston was mentioned as one of the carmakers who might be interested in joining F1 as a manufacturer alongside the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Honda. However its interest waned when the sport’s rule makes opted to retain the current power unit specification into 2021 and beyond.

The Financial Times said on Friday that in addition to Stroll, other rival car makers as well as firms based in the Middle East, India and China were also looking into taking a stake in the firm.

Lawrence Stroll (CDN) Racing Point F1 Team Investor.

While Fiat and Peugeot have been among the names mentioned, Aston itself intends to remain independent in the style of Ferrari. But the cost of research and development into electric technology has forced many firms to seek partnerships, alliances or even mergers in recent years.

Aston is seeking more funds after suffering a big third-quarter loss and confirmed that they were facing lower full-year wholesale volumes due to falling demand in Europe and Asia.

The new Aston Martin DBX SUV is model is set to hit the market next year, but needs strong sales to help the company turn its financial situation around.

The carmaker has seen its shares slump since its flotation in October 2018, after sales proved disappointing and missed market expectations. Shares fell 9.5% lower amid the speculation this week.

The shares are currently priced at 556.8p, compared to £19 when it was floated just over a year ago. The firm is now believed to be valued at only around £1.27 billion.

Stroll himself is estimated to be worth in excess of £2 billion from investments including Tommy Hilfiger, Pierre Cardin, Ralph Lauren, and Asprey. His famed car collection includes what is thought to be the most valuable collection of classic Ferraris in the world.

He led the consortium that bought Force India from administration in 2018, with the team rebranding to its current Racing Point identity at the start of this season with drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.

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Gordon Murray partners with Racing Point F1 on T50 supercar!

Legendary former F1 designer Gordon Murray is partnering with the Racing Point F1 team to develop the most aerodynamically advanced supercar ever.

Murray – the father of a host of Brabham and McLaren race-winning F1 cars and of the iconic McLaren F1 supercar – has entitled his latest endeavor the T.50, a ground-effect design that incorporates a concept last seen on the famous 1978 Brabham BT46 ‘fan car’.

Created by Murray and the creative minds at Gordon Murray Automotive, and developed with the collaboration of Racing Point’s aero department and wind-tunnel, the T.50 features pure lines and will be powered by a bespoke Cosworth V12 capable of revving at an extraordinary 12,100rpm!

Racing Point’s partnership with Gordon Murray Automotive will see the T.50 move from software-based aerodynamic testing (via computational fluid dynamics) to physical testing in the team’s rolling-road wind tunnel from early next year.

“Formula One remains a deep passion of mine, so partnering with Racing Point to develop the T.50 is hugely exciting,” said the 73-year-old Murray.

“I’ve dreamt of delivering a road car with a ground-effect fan since I designed the Brabham BT46B F1 racing car in 1978.

“The system on the T.50 is much more sophisticated than the Brabham’s and will benefit enormously from Racing Point’s expertise and resources.”

Team owner, Lawrence Stroll, said: “Working on the T.50 with Gordon Murray Automotive is an honour and a privilege for everyone at Racing Point.

“Our aerodynamicists will utilise our wind tunnel to harness the very latest Formula One expertise and experience for the T.50 project, ensuring Gordon’s revolutionary fan concept delivers its full potential.

“I have admired the design and engineering skills of Gordon Murray since his earliest days in Formula One, so it is a personal pleasure to support this project, which truly rewrites the rulebook on aerodynamics.”

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Perez: Move on Norris 'one of the best of my career'

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez reckoned his last lap overtake of McLaren’s Lando Norris to snatch P7 in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was one of the best moves of his career.

A long 37-lap first stint on the medium tyre saw Perez move up to seventh, but the Mexican than fell out of the top ten after switching to the hard compound.

However, armed with fresher tyres, Perez wrestled his way back into the top ten to find himself hot on the heels of Norris.

After sizing up the McLaren in the closing stages of the race, the Racing Point charger went for it on the very last round, hounding the papaya car on the run down to Turn 11 before executing a pass on the outside of the corner.

The move caught Norris by surprise but amazed Perez himself.

“It was a good way to finish the season,” Perez said. “The final lap was one of my best moves of my career, that was a pretty special one

“The six points we scored means that I have finished inside the top 10 in the Drivers’ Championship and I’m pleased we could do that. I cannot wait to start next season already.”

Norris was none too pleased with losing the ‘best of the rest’ spot to his rival, calling himself a “shit driver” for not defending his position more aggressively.

“I can’t believe I allowed him to make the best move of his career!” said the McLaren driver when told of Perez’s reaction.

“I was a bit nervous of locking up or doing something stupid, but I just wasn’t forceful enough. I didn’t change my mindset enough I don’t think.

“I did the whole race being so calm and relaxed, looking after the fronts and the rears, and at this moment I needed to be aggressive and forceful and change how I was as a driver and I didn’t do that.

“I was a shit driver basically in my mind because he was the one guy I had to beat today and I didn’t and because of that I’m annoyed.

“The rest of the race was good but it all led up to this moment and I failed in what I needed to do.”

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Perez admits he 'didn't really deserve' points in Brazil

Like a few of his midfield rivals, Sergio Perez lucked into a top-ten finish in Brazil, but based on his poor pace in Sunday’s race, the SportPesa Racing Point driver believes the two points he collected for P9 weren’t deserved.

Perez was running well out of the top ten for the majority of the Brazilian Grand Prix, but the Mexican swiftly moved up the order in the latter part of the event thanks to the retirements of Valtteri Bottas and both Ferrari drivers and as a result of a spin by Red Bull’s Alex Albon.

On its merit however, Racing Point didn’t deserve its points according to Perez.

“I didn’t really see it coming,” Perez said. “It was a chaotic race, we needed to be strong out there.

“We were not good enough. We were lacking so much speed on the straights.

“We got overtaken very easily and then we couldn’t push to get past people, so quite a disappointing race.

“It’s two points that we didn’t really deserve, because we didn’t have the pace all weekend, but I’m just pleased with that.”

Contrary to Perez, teammate Lance Stroll, who also spent his afternoon clear of the top ten, wasn’t even awarded an opportunity to benefit from the commotion that impacted the running order.

The Canadian was forced to call it a day six laps from the checkered flag because of a suspension failure caused by debris from the Ferrari drivers’ clash.

“That’s exactly what happened, I ran over some debris,” Stroll said.

“It was very tight all the way to the end with all the Safety Cars. We were on a good tyre and it’s a bit of a shame because we were definitely in a position to grab some points.”

Unfortunately, Racing Point’s relative underperformance coupled with a big bag of points collected by Toro Rosso in Brazil, courtesy of Pierre Gasly’s second place finish, has pushed the pink outfit down to 7th in the Constructors’ standings

“A tough day for us, even though we managed to salvage a couple of points in the final few laps,” said team boss Otmar Szafnauer.

“We face an uphill task in Abu Dhabi to reclaim sixth place in the constructors’ championship, but we will go there fighting and give it everything.”

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Racing Point gets green light for state-of-the-art factory

Racing Point F1 team’s future state-of-the-art factory is a go, the Silverstone-based outfit finally receiving planning permission for its 15,000m² facility.

The future compound, the broad specifications of which were personally defined by Racing Point owner Laurence Stroll, will sit on land adjacent to the team’s current building and is expected to be operational by August 2021.

Designs showing the new Racing Point main factory facility and headquarters.

© Racing Point F1

“I’m really happy that we were able to get planning permission in the timeframe that we wanted,” team principal Otmar Szafnauer told Motorsport.com.

“Now it’s time to just finalise some details and do the groundbreaking in the first quarter of next year. What we want to try to do if possible is move in during the summer break in 2021.

“If we’re growing the team, the current place is not big enough. We’re going to increase the team size by another 10-20%, and to do that you need space.”

Racing Point’s current factory housed the original Jordan Grand Prix outfit – the forerunner of Force India – at its inception in 1991. It will be retained by the team for warehousing and logistics.

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Perez heads into 'hugely important' home race

Whoever wins this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, there’s little question that the real star of the show will be Sergio Perez, who will doubtless be besieged by thousands of adoring fans at his home event.

The 29-year-old originally hails from Guadalajara, the capital of the state of Jalisco, and has always been a passionate supporter of holding a Formula 1 race in the country.

“The race in Mexico is a hugely important weekend for me,” the SportPesa Racing Point driver said. “It’s my home race and I always feel very proud to see Formula 1 back in Mexico.

“We’ve just had the notice that the race contract has been extended for another three years, which is great news for the sport and for Mexico.”

The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez event has always been a popular one, having won four straight ‘Best Promoter’ awards at the end-of-season FIA gala prize giving.

“Everybody tells me how much they love the race – my colleagues, the media and the fans,” Perez agreed. “It’s our chance to show everybody the Mexican way of life and how much we love sports.”

The track layout is famous for its stadium section, and for the high altitude which makes it more difficult for driver and car alike.

“The track is a pretty challenging one, especially when you consider we are driving the cars at a high altitude,” Perez concurred.

“It’s tough on the drivers physically and it’s hard work for the power unit as well because the air is so thin.

“I think the final sector is my favourite part of the lap – the fast and flowing section, which can be very tricky, and it’s easy to make a mistake through there.

“Because of the altitude, you have much less downforce on the car and the car can sometimes get quite loose through those fast corners.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point F1 Team RP19.

“Overtaking is never easy, but I think the best opportunity is into Turn 1 – that’s where we’ve seen most of the moves being made.

“The final sector also has the stadium section and when it’s full of fans the atmosphere is like nothing else.

“Each time I drive through there, even during practice, I can hear the fans and feel their support,” he added.

Last time out in Suzuka, a problematic qualifying session left Perez starting from 17th place on the grid. However he was able to battle his way into the points by the finish which saw him classified ninth – despite contact with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly on the final lap.

Perez is currently in equal 10th place in the drivers standings with four races remaining in 2019, tied on points with Nico Hulkenberg and Lando Norris.

Racing Point itself heads into the weekend in seventh place in the constructors championship, and needs just five points to overhaul Toro Rosso.

“We expect to be competitive and to be fighting for points on Sunday,” predicted team principal and CEO Otmar Szafnauer.

“The car has evolved significantly over the last couple of months and Mexico City is another chance to demonstrate the progress we have made recently.”

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Premature finish in Suzuka keeps Perez in the points

There was heartbreak for Sergio Perez when the Racing Point clashed with a Toro Rosso and ended up being spun out of ninth place and into the gravel near the end of the Japanese Grand Prix.

The accident meant that Perez was initially shown in 17th place in the official results for the race. However a few minutes later a revised classification was issued, with Perez back in ninth – and the race one lap shorter.

Instead of 53 laps as planned, the race was shortened to 52 laps after a technical glitch with the timing system.

That resulted in the chequered flag being shown to the leaders one lap too soon. Under the sporting regulations, that meant the race did indeed end one lap earlier – and the roll back means Perez stays in the points despite his clash with Pierre Gasly.

According to Article 43.2 of F1’s sporting regulations, “Should for any reason the end‐of‐race signal be given before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps, or the prescribed time has been completed, the race will be deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the Line before the signal was given.”

With Perez back in ninth place, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg drops back to tenth. And Perez’ team mate Lance Stroll misses out on a point altogether, as he was pushed out of the top ten by Perez’ reinstatement.

Racing Point is currently in seventh place in the constructors championship. The two points scored by Perez on Sunday keep it within five points of Toro Rosso in sixth.

It also means that Perez is now in a three-way tie for tenth place in the driver standings with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren Lando Norris.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point F1 Team RP19.

Initial reports said that the FIA was uncertain about the cause of the chequered flag panel being illuminated too early. An investigation into the glitch is said to be underway.

It might be related to the disruption caused by Typhoon Hagibis, with much of the circuit infrastructure having to be packed away on Saturday to protect it against the inclement weather and set up in haste on Sunday morning in time to hold qualifying.

It’s not the first time that a Grand Prix has been accidentally curtailed.

The most recent occasion was last year’s Canadian race, where model Winnie Harlow was given instructions to wave the chequered flag too soon.

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