Racing Point technical director Andrew Green says the team’s new car reflects its decision to follow Mercedes’ design principles and is a “very big risk” for the team.
“What we have seen is a change from where we were last year,” he said. “It’s a conscious decision.
“Through about the middle of last year, we saw where the RP19 was developing to and where it was going, it wasn’t making the gains that we were hoping for. And I think it was clear that if we carried on the route we were going we were going to end up a best where we finished the championship last year. And to us, that just wasn’t going to be acceptable.
“We have one more year left in these regulations, I think there’s time to try something new, to take a risk, and I think we’ve taken a very, very big risk with what we’ve done with the car.”
Racing Point uses Mercedes’ current power unit, 2019-specification gearbox and some other parts as permitted by the rules. Green explained that led them to follow Mercedes’ design lead, having previously followed similar principles to rivals Red Bull.
“It made sense to do what we’ve done, which is to take the underlying architecture that we’ve had from MGP [Mercedes Grand Prix] – we’ve been using that gearbox for quite a while, we’re a year behind with the gearbox, always have been – trying to develop in the last few years the ‘Red Bull philosophy’, the high-rake philosophy, which lots of people have emulated up and down the pit lane, became increasingly difficult with the gearbox that we have from MGP.
“They are a different philosophy, a lower-rake philosophy than anyone on the grid. And it’s difficult to try and shoehorn and develop around a different philosophy from the underlying architecture that you have.
“So it was a question that we posed ourselves: What should we do? Should we move across and try and develop a car to a different philosophy? And it seemed obvious running a 2019 gearbox, the same gearbox as they ran last year, we’ve got the Mercedes power unit and we’ve also got a few outboard suspension components that we had from MGP supply as well last year, no big change.
“We decided to take a risk and that risk was effectively to tear up what we’ve done in the past few years and start again from scratch from what we could see of what MGP have been doing.”
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
Green insisted Racing Point have “the same view as everyone else has got, there’s nothing special in the information that we’ve got, all we’ve got is what we see” and they do not receive other information from Mercedes which could put them in breach of the rules.
The new car beat the team’s quickest lap time from pre-season testing in the first two hours of yesterday’s test. But Green said he isn’t sure yet whether the change will deliver. “It’s a big risk,” he said. “I don’t know whether it’s going to pay off. We’ll have to see.”
While some rivals have called the Racing Point a ‘pink Mercedes’, Green says they are doing nothing different to what other teams have in the past.
“I don’t think what we’ve done is particularly new as far as taking a team’s concept and doing and it ourselves, that’s been prolific in Formula 1 since the very first days.
“I don’t think that’s anything new at all. Teams have done it and teams will continue to do it. Think back from double diffusers to blown diffusers to coanda exhausts, people take concepts and they turn them into their own. And we’ve done exactly the same.”
“My question would really be why hasn’t anyone else done this before? It seems when we look at it and we look back on it, we think ‘crikey this is something that maybe we should have done earlier’.”
Racing Point has only been able to make such a dramatic change in its car design because of the investment in the team since it was bought by Lawrence Stroll in mid-2018.
“Unfortunately we didn’t have the resources earlier,” said Green. “We didn’t have the people, we didn’t have the funding to do this sort of project before. Now we have, we decided to do it, give it one year.”
“We’re a small team,” he added. “We’re only 400-plus people, we’re not 1,000-plus people. We’ve got to cut our cloth to suit and I think to us as a small team we definitely want to be more in the ‘fast followers’ category than the ‘pioneering cutting edge’ category, which is where the big teams have got the resources to do that.”
With new technical regulations arriving in 2021, Racing Point had less to lose by gambling on a major change in its car design, Green added.
“It’s all going to get thrown away anyway at the end of this year. With all the new regulations in 2021 the risk of having to go back again was zero because there is no going back. It all changes in 2021, a completely different set of regulations that.
“If you’re worried about cars looking the same, then you might want to look at 2021 regulations because they will all look the same and everyone is going to converge to a solution very, very quickly next year because areas of freedom are going to be so restrictive.”
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
2020 F1 season
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers
- 2020 F1 driver rankings #1: Lewis Hamilton