Chief Executive Officer and Team Principal of Racing Point F1 Team Otmar Szafnauer is hoping their strategy from pre-season testing will pay off in Melbourne.
After admitting they held back in Barcelona, Szafnauer is hoping the developments they took the time to make to the RP19 will be on display throughout the season.
“Winter testing saw us achieve our main objectives and we took away a lot of positives, but the car you will see in Melbourne is quite different from the car we ran in Barcelona.
“We took the strategic decision to give ourselves the maximum time to develop the car, to maximise our performance at the first race, and that meant holding back a little during testing.
“It’s not easy introducing new parts late in the day and we know it will be a steep learning curve, but we believe this approach will pay off in the long run.
“We begin 2019 with a new identity and new energy. There’s fresh investment, too, with new partners joining us, but it takes time for this investment to be translated into performance on the track.
“A big part of the RP19 was designed before the new shareholders acquired the team so this is very much a year of transition.
“The aim this year is to take a step forward and compete at the front of the midfield once again.
“We recognise this won’t be an easy task because it’s shaping up to be one of the closest midfields we have seen for a long time – with just a few tenths separating a handful of teams.
“We are realistic about the challenge ahead of us and the amount of work needed to achieve our objectives. It’s a long season and we have a solid development plan in place.”
Despite the changes to the management of the team, Szafnauer is fully focused on racing and thinks Australia is the perfect place to get the season started.
Last year the team finished eleventh and twelfth at Albert Park but Szafnauer is hoping to improve on that performance and earn some points this weekend.
He added: “Australia is a great place to start the season. We always get a warm welcome from the fans and, after a long winter of development and testing, it’s great to finally get back to racing.
“There’s a special atmosphere in Melbourne and city races are a great way to take the sport to the fans.
“They work hard to make the whole week a festival of motorsport and it’s hugely enjoyable for everybody that attends.
“I’d like to think we can be fighting for points in Melbourne and that’s certainly the first objective heading into the first race weekend.”