Otmar Szafnauer says it is a ‘great day’ for the BWT Racing Point Formula One Team after Lance Stroll secured his maiden pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix.
It is the first pole position for the team since Giancarlo Fisichella took a surprise pole at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix when they were known as Force India, and with Sergio Pérez securing third place on the grid, it was an outstanding day for the team in what were extremely difficult conditions.
Szafnauer, the Team Principal and CEO at Racing Point, says getting the best out of the tyres was key to the performance of both cars, and it was a good call early on in Q3 to switch from the full wet tyre to the intermediates. Pérez made the call to start the session on them and was immediately quick, with Stroll then pitting and joining his team-mate on those tyres.
“It’s a great day for us and it’s amazing to see Lance Stroll and a Racing Point on pole position,” said Szafnauer. “Tyre performance was the story of the day and Lance with his team made the call in Q3 of switching to the intermediates at the end.
“He said at the beginning of the session that the conditions would play out the way they did, which is not an easy thing to call. Lance was very quick on the wet compound and once we bolted on the intermediates, he went out there and did the job fantastically.
“Congratulations to him on his first pole position. Checo also put in a great performance to take P3 on the grid, which sets us up nicely for scoring well tomorrow.”
Szafnauer says first and third on the grid is a reward for all the effort the team put in overnight to understand how the tyres worked at Intercity Istanbul Park, and whatever conditions come their way on Sunday, he hopes they can convert their starting positions into a good haul of points.
“Today’s result is the reward of a lot of work overnight to understand the tyres and, while we didn’t expect it to be as wet as it was today, the work paid off,” he said. “I think in both dry and wet conditions, we can be strong tomorrow and we’ll do our best to capitalise on it and score a great result for the team.”