Formula 1

Szafnauer Celebrates ‘Incredible Day’ for Racing Point in Sakhir Grand Prix after Pérez Victory

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Credit: BWT Racing Point Formula One Team

Otmar Szafnauer was naturally delighted after seeing his BWT Racing Point Formula One Team pull off a remarkable first win in Formula 1 on Sunday evening, with Sergio Pérez taking the chequered flag first in the Sakhir Grand Prix.

The day was capped off by Lance Stroll securing third place, and although the team has tasted success in the past when it was known as the Jordan F1 Team, it is the first triumph for them since Giancarlo Fisichella won the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2003 in their former guise. 

Szafnauer, the Team Principal and CEO of the Silverstone-based outfit, was delighted to see Pérez rise from being eighteenth and last at the end of the first lap – after contact with Charles Leclerc pitched him into a spin – to come through for his maiden win at the one hundred and ninetieth attempt.

“What an incredible day for the team: we delivered under pressure to get a massive result,” said Szafnauer.  “Not many teams and drivers can say they went from P18 to P1, but we certainly can!

“Checo bounced back from the lap one crash and after his lock-up on his new mediums under the safety car, we managed the situation with him and overcame the vibration to keep him out on track. That proved crucial to our chances of winning.

“Both sides of the garage did a superb job and Lance drove incredibly well to get P3. It’s another podium for Lance and he’s still a young driver who’s constantly improving. Checo’s win puts him back in P4 in the Drivers’ Championship, which I think speaks volumes.

“With his and Lance’s points, we are in better shape for the Constructors’ Championship battle for third with one race remaining.”

Szafnauer revealed just how much work went in just to get two cars onto the grid this weekend after their double retirement in the Bahrain Grand Prix just seven days earlier left them desperately short of spare parts. 

They used team owner Lawrence Stroll’s private jet to transport parts from their Silverstone base to the circuit just in time to get the cars built for Friday’s free practice sessions.

“Today has been a huge team effort and we really demonstrated that this week,” said the American.  “After a really tough weekend last time out with both cars damaged, the boys and girls back at Silverstone delivered by working day and night to ensure we had all the parts we needed for this weekend.

“That’s what Formula 1 is all about: it’s teamwork. But for now, there’s a great Mexican restaurant at the hotel, we’ll be celebrating with Checo and Lance before heading to Abu Dhabi!”

“The 400-plus members of the team can be hugely proud of their efforts” – Lawrence Stroll

Team Owner Lawrence Stroll says that the result of the Sakhir Grand Prix did not come as a ‘huge surprise’ to him, as he knew the kind of people he had working at the team when he acquired the outfit midway through the 2018 season.

Stroll says the team has always ‘punched above its weight’ in the past, and all his arrival has done has given them the funding they deserve and need to move to the next level, something he feels they are edging towards after a strong looking 2020 to date.

“When we took over this team, we knew we were taking over an operation that has always punched above its weight and delivered on a much smaller budget than our rivals,” said Stroll.  “Today’s result isn’t a huge surprise considering this team in the past was able to deliver P4 in the Constructors’ Championship in back-to-back seasons.

“When I arrived, it was about giving the team the funding it deserved and working with the outstanding core staff to allow the team to continue to flourish. The 400-plus members of the team can be hugely proud of their efforts and we’ll continue expanding to ensure this outfit continues to be competitive and in the hope that we celebrate more days like today in the future!

“Checo drove an exceptional race and he has been a hugely important part of the team’s history, while Lance also drove very well to ensure the double podium.”

Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll finished first and third in the Sakhir Grand Prix – Credit: BWT Racing Point Formula One Team
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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