Otmar Szafnauer: “A Strong Opening Lap was Crucial”

by Connor Jackson

At the end of his debut season in the role of Racing Point Force India‘s team principal, Otmar Szafnauer helped secure seventh in the Formula One constructors championship.

The team had come under threat from the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, and most notably their driver Charles Leclerc, in the final race of the year at the Yas Marina Circuit. Though would hold on to their position thanks to Sergio Perez, who picked up an eighth place, with the team scoring 52 points.

“The main priority today was to score points and confirm seventh place in the standings, which we delivered thanks to Sergio’s run to eighth place,” started Szafnauer.

Leclerc had made a strong start, quickly working his way up to fifth place. This would not last though, as Perez recovered from a poor fourteenth in qualifying, to be running within the top ten when the safety car was called. Perez would eventually move up to eighth as Leclerc dropped behind the top six, thus ensuring seventh in the constructors.

“Starting on the ultrasoft tyre was definitely the optimal strategy and a strong opening lap was crucial to the final result.” continued Szafnauer.

Esteban [Ocon] starred throughout the race with some great battles, but unfortunately his car suffered a loss of oil pressure and he had to retire. They both drove well tonight, as they have done all year, and we end the season on a positive note.”

Force India have been back in action today with their new driver Lance Stroll in the car, setting the third fastest time of the day, a 1:37.415. Meanwhile Perez completed 67 laps, setting times on the new 2019 tyre.

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