Aero change ‘step into the unknown’ for Racing Point

Jamie Woodhouse
Racing Point

Cyril Abiteboul doesn't think Mercedes/Racing Point alliance will last beyond 2022.

Racing Point CEO Otmar Szafnauer admits his team’s change in aero concept for 2020 was a “step into the unknown”.

Mercedes would steal all the headlines in testing for their DAS system, but before that all the scrutiny was going Racing Point’s way after rival teams accused them of copying the W10, making the RP20 nothing more than a “pink Mercedes”.

But Szafnauer made it clear that the criticism “doesn’t bother” him, in fact his team are happy that finally they were able to switch their aero concept to get the best out of their Mercedes components.

“It doesn’t bother me. We’ve been talking about doing this for a long time,” he told the F1 website.

“We’ve had the Mercedes gearbox in the back of our car for many years, and because they run a different aero concept to us it was always a compromise, so we ran a high rake with a gearbox that was designed for not a high rake and we were always compromised, especially at the rear end aerodynamically.

“That meant we had rear instability, and because of where we are financially now it was the first opportunity we’ve had to actually switch concepts because it takes quite a bit of effort and resource to do that.

“This was our opportunity to do it – the sad thing is we will have a year of it, and then the regulations change.”

And like the other teams Racing Point will need to nail the window this year where focus on 2020 stops and all efforts turn to the new 2021 cars.

So to help with that Szafnauer believes it’s important to start 2020 with the strongest package possible, especially having taken such a big risk to switch concepts in the last year of these regulations.

“It was a risk because the other concept we understood quite well,” he said.

“We refined it for nine years and this is all new, so it was a step into the unknown so that was a risk, and it doesn’t give you much time if we did go astray to bring it back. But it looks like so far so good.

“I think it’s really important for this year to come out with a decent package so you don’t have to continue to refine and upgrade it because that will only be at the expense of the following year.”

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