Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer has high hopes for the season-opener in Austria, and thinks the RP20 is their best Formula 1 car yet.
The Silverstone-based team proved to be the surprise package during pre-season testing, leading to optimism that they could challenge the established top three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in 2021.
Testing took place all the way back in February, but the fact that teams haven’t been able to upgrade their cars since then as would usually happen leaves Szafnauer very confident for the opening round.
Asked on the F1 Nation podcast if the team could take their pre-season testing form to the Red Bull Ring, Szafnauer said: “Hard for me to predict, but I think some of the competitiveness that we saw in the winter should [carry over] to the Red Bull Ring, number one.
“And number two, we’ve had a long time off now and I don’t think anyone’s had enough time to get back to work, develop the car and get new bits onto their car. We certainly haven’t.
“But my expectation is, the competitiveness that we saw in the winter should also be available to us and become evident in Austria.”
In fact, he thinks the RP20 is the best car aerodynamically that the team have ever produced.
“Yes, I think relatively so, this is the most competitive,” he said.
“We’ve taken a decent step forward. There have been other times where we looked really, really competitive. I remember, I think it was Adrian Sutil overtaking Michael Schumacher in a Mercedes going up the hill at Spa and there are races where we’ve [been] really, really quick – and [we] nearly won one at Spa.
“As a general package, out of Barcelona, which is usually a good indicator of how well your aerodynamic team has done, this is probably the best that I have seen our aerodynamic team has produced, and the best we’ve been at Barcelona anyway.”
Racing Point will be putting their RP20 through its paces before the season starts as part of a filming day at Silverstone on June 17.