Racing Point expect to crank up their development once the Spanish Grand Prix comes around.
First though the team must tackle the Baku City Circuit – a track which has been very kind to the team with Sergio Perez making the podium there last season.
The Mexican achieved Racing Point’s best result of 2019 so far with P8 in China, rising from his starting spot of P12, beaten only in the best-of-the-rest scrap by Daniel Ricciardo.
The RP19’s development has been hampered in the early stages of the season by the financial implosion of the team under its former Force India name, but with new owner Lawrence Stroll’s money now filtering in, the team expect new parts to come thick and fast very soon.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Racing Point technical director James Green said: “The updates that we’ve put on, we’re getting closer to optimising them, the Bahrain test helped us a lot to understand where the sweet spot of the car is.
“Baku has always been strong for us, and hopefully it will be strong again this year. We’ll just have a Baku specific downforce kit. And then we’ve got updates coming thick and fast after that.
“Spain is where things start to happen. We’re still a long way off where we want to be, that’s for sure, and it takes time to build the team up to challenge where we want to be challenging, while other teams have made big steps.
“We’ve been cash-strapped for many years. It’s going to take time to build up the team and move it forward. We’ve just got to be patient.”
Starting outside the top 10, Perez was able to begin on the medium tyres, allowing him to go from P12 to 8 on the first lap and take advantage of those in the top 10 who were committed to starting on softs.
“Eleventh and 12th on our numbers was always better than ninth and 10th, as far as qualifying positions were concerned,” said Green.
“So we were happy with 12th on the grid. You’re never going to beat the top six.
“It was a strong race by Checo. It was a difficult one-stop, it had to be driven really precisely, and he did it.
“There wasn’t a lot of margin in the tyres to pull off a one-stop. He had a really good first lap, he knew it was a track position race with a one-stop. The track probably came to us a little bit to us.”
Perez’s team-mate Lance Stroll is yet to really ignite his campaign. Despite rising from P16 to 12 in the Chinese GP, his Q1 exit extended that particular run to seven straight races, though Green believes that stat doesn’t do him justice.
“He’s been really unlucky. He was unlucky in Australia, he was blocked in qualifying. I think with hindsight we would probably have done the strategy slightly differently [in Shanghai], because he had another great start. But we didn’t really know what would have happened if we’d gone the other way. But I think he deserved to score a point,” he stressed.
“The potential is there, and it will come through. We always said it’s going to take half a season for him to settle into the team and for us to understand his need and for him to understand how we work.
“We’re still in that process, it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. We see it all the time with drivers coming into a new team, it takes some tome to adapt, and he’s exactly the same. But he’ll get there.”