Otmar Szafnauer remains confident that his Racing Point F1 Team can reclaim its position as ‘best of the rest’ on the Formula 1 grid, but he admits achieving fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship will be difficult.
2019 has been a very difficult campaign for Racing Point, with the team about to embark on the second half of the season sitting down in eighth place in the Constructors’ Championship, ahead only of the Haas F1 Team and Williams Racing. Lance Stroll currently holds twelfth in the Drivers’ Championship, while team-mate Sergio Pérez has failed to score any points since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April and sits sixteenth.
Szafnauer, the Team Principal and CEO of the Silverstone-based outfit, admits the troubles the team faced in 2018, where Racing Point came in and took over the ailing Sahara Force India F1 Team, left the development of the RP-19 behind schedule, and it is apparent there are many shortfalls they are still overcoming.
“We’ll get there,” said Szafnauer to Reuters. “We have the same people, the same process, even better tools and more funding so it’s just a matter of time.
“The second half of the season should be a lot closer to where we’ve been in the past. Renault had better watch out. We took such a hit last year because of the difficulties that we had.
“We were on the back foot because when we were making decisions back in May and June (2018) about this year’s car, we had no money. So we compromised this year’s car and I didn’t really understand the impact of those compromises until this year.
“Now we’re trying to unravel some of those things because we do have funding that we can spend on performance, which is what we’re chasing now.”
Racing Point are one point behind Alfa Romeo Racing, who sit in seventh in the Constructors’ Championship, and eight points behind the Renault F1 Team in sixth, while Scuderia Toro Rosso are twelve points better off in fifth, thanks primarily to their fortuitous podium in wet-dry German Grand Prix.
However, the form of the McLaren F1 Team has means fourth place in the table is fifty-one points away, which Szafnauer feels is going to be difficult to close down, particularly with only limited points available for the midfield runners should the top three teams run as expected inside the top six.
“I still think it’s possible but it’s difficult,” said Szafnauer. “Not because we’re that far away, but because the competition in the midfield is really intense and we’re really only fighting for a few points or tenths.
“If the top three teams do what they should do, the top six (race) positions are gone. You’re only fighting for a handful of points and there’s a lot of us in that midfield that could get that handful.”