F1 Summer Break Review: SportPesa Racing Point
Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll  in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France. (Photo by Charles Coates,Getty Images)

F1 Summer Break Review: SportPesa Racing Point

After the transformation from Force India to Racing Point at the start of the year, it was never going to be an easy ride for the Silverstone-based team as they look to re-establish themselves at the front of the midfield.

jaquobcrooke
Jaquob Crooke

Having defeated adversity with it's flying pink colours, Racing Point's road to recovery has been far from an ideal one.

Operating as Force India in the previous year and the vast number of seasons before that, the team were drowning in debt and though development had been initiated for next season, the financial uncertainty and limited resources had meant that Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll had begun the 2019 season driving a challenger devoid of any serious investment.

Despite that, the buyout from Lawrence Stroll has ensured that the team will at least be on the grid for the coming seasons and with a larger budget and greater resources, Racing Point will hopefully re-emerge as a leading midfield contender - purely because their 2019 challenger has proven to be a regressive disaster.

With the exception of an excellent strategic call in Hockenheim, Racing Point have endured a difficult resurrection and continue to struggle with in-season development.

Highest of highs to lowest of lows

With conditions alternating at the German Grand Prix, the strategists at Racing Point took a worthwhile gamble by bringing in Stroll for dry compound tyres on a slightly wet - albeit drying - track surface.

The outcome seen Stroll leapfrog the pack as they all switched to dry tyres a lap or two laps later, and although he was unable to fend off the pestering Daniil Kvyat and the rampant Sebastian Vettel, the young Canadian produced an exceptional performance to score the team's best result of the season in fourth.

There was an exciting buzz within the team, a mere reward for the tireless work of those at the factory who have overcome every troublesome obstacle that has been presented to them. Could this be a platform from which they could build on?

The answer was no. As F1 moved on from the mesmerising Hockenheim show, Racing Point were brought back down to Earth with a bang as George Russell produced a sensational lap to qualify ahead of Stroll.

In-season development has been a struggle for the majority of the midfield teams, but none more so than Racing Point. On raw pace alone, the team are currently the ninth quickest team.

The lack of upgrades, positive upgrades at least, is what is hurting the team greatly and without productive R&D over the summer, their 2019 season will continue to regress.

With 31 points to their name so far in this campaign, the team are 28 points shy of their total this time last year.

Wealth of experience

In Perez, Racing Point have a driver who has maximised his surroundings and delivered several vital results.

"I think we knew it was going to be hard," said Perez prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix, "not this hard though, obviously.

"But we've been improving quite a bit and the focus is partially on next year as well."

Whilst the team have invested a considerable amount of finance, hours and research into their development programme, Perez has found his usual consistency a difficult habit to come by and is even below his team-mate Stroll in the standings.

Despite that, the Mexican has still secured four top-ten finishes this season, including sixth at the productive Azerbaijan GP, and with the second-half of the campaign on the horizon - a period in which Perez usually thrives - you can expect the former McLaren driver to punch above his weight once again.

Spa and Monza are venues that Racing Point, or if you're being fastidious; Force India, have enjoyed previous successes at. With a Mercedes power unit supplying the straight-line speed, the team will be optimistic that they can amend their worrying form and bridge the gap to Toro Rosso, Renault and Alfa Romeo

 

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