One team that is definitely on the up are Racing Point F1.
Force India were in a terrible position during the end of the summer in 2018. With debts mounting and the team owner, Vijay Mallya facing court battles, the team were placed into administration prompted by Sergio Perez, who was owed around $4 to $5million.
With may people within the F1 paddock asking who would be the most likely investor to purchase Force India, Lawrence Stroll soon became a possible answer.
With a personal fortune of around $2.6billion he would have the finances to not only save the team in the short term, he could in theory invest in the project and turn them into a force within the F1 world.
Lawrence Stroll led a consortium of investors to purchase Force India F1 in August 2018. The deal was reported to be be worth £90million with a further £15million of debt taken on by the new consortium. One of the first pieces of business for the new team owners was to clear the debt and paying all creditors in full.
A new future begins ….
With the Stroll money and a new name, Racing Point F1 took to the grid for the 2019 season. The team remained Pink due to a sponsorship tie in with BWT. The driver line up changed as Lance Stroll would join up with Sergio Perez.
2019 was a stop gap year for Racing Point, as the 2019 cars were pretty far into design and production by the time new owners took over.
They were firmly in the mid field with 7th place finish in the constructors table and 73 points total.
Lance Stroll, who is the son of Lawrence Stroll was announced as the new driver to partner Sergio Perez for 2019.
Lance had been driving for Williams until the end of 2018, his move to Williams was financed by Lawrence Stroll. Lance did not really set the world alight within F1, some OK performances including a 3rd place finish at the Azerbaijan GP and a front row start at the Italian GP in Monza both in 2017. The 2018 season was not a good year for Williams as the car was really not competitive.
Lance Stroll’s move to Racing Point was pretty much confirmed when the team was bought by his father’s consortium, causing the internet to come up with numerous memes around daddy buying an F1 team.
Lance Stroll does have some ability to race an F1 car though. The question still remains “Does he deserve to be in F1?” I would say yes, but the cars he has driven have not really been competitive. The last 2 years at Williams were beset by a car and team that were quickly falling to the rear of the grid. In his debut in Racing Point in 2019 it was too early for the new cash injection to allow them to develop and design a car that could compete consistently with the midfield.
2020 will be the year that Lance Stroll really needs to show, that he deserves his seat.
Sergio Perez drives the other Racing Point car, he has been with the team for a number of years. Sergio is a criminally under rated driver in F1, he has amazing race craft and his ability to manage his tires is unmatched on the grid. With new investment in the team, Sergio could finally drive a car that can sustain a challenge throughout the season.
Pre season Testing for Racing Point was a bit of a surprise. As soon as the car took to the track we could see where the team had got the idea for the car. They had copied the design of the Mercedes car of 2019.
OK let me explain… every F1 team hires photographers. Their job is to go to a rival team and take hundreds of pictures of every part of the car that they can. A team may notice a new part of a rival car, instructing the photographers to take picture of that part of the car, the pictures would be “reversed engineered” by the Racing Point engineers, They would look at the pictures, study them, understand what each bit does and then adapt the idea to their own car.
Pre COVID 19, the philosophy was that they would try a new design philosophy aka Tracing Point, if this idea doesn’t work, it doesn’t really matter as 2021 was a complete redesign. This has since changed to 2022, meaning that if the idea doesn’t work, Racing Point will be stuck with a car that they only have limited development opportunities to make any better prior to the new rules for 2022.
Are Racing Point really Tracing Point?
In a word NO, you can forgive many in F1 that think they are, however they have not broken any rules with the new philosophy. All teams will copy each other at some point throughout the season. Look at the Brawn car of 2008, they came with the double diffuser idea, which blew the grid away, until other teams were able to design their own version, after that the Brawn wasn’t not quite as dominant.
Another reason that the decision made sense is that Racing Point are Mercedes customers, getting both Power Units and Gearboxes from the German Team.
The biggest reason that they are not Tracing Point is that although they have copied the Mercedes car, they have to understand what each part of the car does, the engineers are not the engineers that thought up the concept.
In a way its like someone who lets a friend borrow a suit, both friends weigh the same, are the same height, similar body shape, in theory the suit would fit with no issues. However the person borrowing the suit might walk slightly different causing the suit to rub differently, they could hold themselves in a different way making the suit rest a bit odd compared to the person that owned the suit.
This new philosophy for Racing Point will be a success only if they can understand what they have. If they can work it out they could be a dark horse this season.
The Future’s Bright, the future’s …. Aston Martin.
The world of F1 was awoken by the news that the struggling British Car manufacturer Aston Martin was bought by Lawrence Stroll in a deal worth £182 million. He became executive chairman as a result. Part of the deal was the Racing Point would become Aston Martin F1 from 2021.
This seems to be a win, win for the car brand, as the F1 team is not linked to Aston Martin as a “works” team in the traditional sense. In essence the team are advertising the Aston Martin brand.
Racing Point/Aston Martin have committed to invest in infrastructure for the F1 team, including a wind tunnel and a new HQ. (this has been delayed till 2022 due to Covid-19). The increased investment has seen speculation within the driver market, some even linking Sebastian Vettel as a potential driver for them in 2021.
The team are on the up, they are going to be a force …