Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Racing Point quick enough to rival Red Bull at some races – Szafnauer

2020 F1 season

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Racing Point believe their car is quick enough to challenge Red Bull at some races this year.

Red Bull have been the second-quickest team so far this season. At the last race Sergio Perez rose from 17th on the grid to catch fourth-placed Alexander Albon, though the second Red Bull driver was around 40 seconds adrift of his team mate at the time.

Asked whether he believes the team could fight Red Bull for second place in the championship, CEO Otmar Szafnauer said: “It’s hard to know.”

“I think at some tracks the answer is yes and others know,” he told Sky. “But I think there will be some circuits where we will be nearly as strong as Red Bull.”

Racing Point’s breakthrough performance this year has prompted speculation they could sign Sebastian Vettel for 2021, when they will become Aston Martin. However that would mean replacing either Sergio Perez or Lance Stroll.

Szafnauer said the team is not in a rush to make a decision about its plans for next year.

“We don’t have any timing deadlines or anything,” he said. “We’ve got two under contract.

“And it’s always fun to try to guess what’s going to happen to the driver market in the future and that’s fun for all of us. So we should all just enjoy it while we can.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 16 comments on “Racing Point quick enough to rival Red Bull at some races – Szafnauer”

    1. For a team I used to love to root for, this has really made their stock fall for me something fierce. I get that it’s probably a legal and valid strategy to copy-paste another car from photographs or whatever they’ve done, but if they get podiums or, god forbid, even wins with this, it’s just gonna feel like a hollow victory. Almost like the constructor trophy should be handed off to the Mercedes team instead.

      It’s just not the quirky low budget underdog team you wanted to root for anymore. This is also why I wouldn’t call it a breakthrough performance, because the performance is really nothing more than lip-syncing along with the recording of a number one hit.

      1. I really don’t see the problem. All the teams in f1 copy each other. Racing point copying the team who have dominated f1 for the last 6 years should be applauded. Its amazing to me that it has taking this long for an f1 team to finally copy Mercedes. if racing point do win this year I think it would be amazing.

        1. There is a stark difference between getting inspired by or even following a general design idea and straight up tracing another cars design line by line.

          Putting those two on equal grounds is an unfair comparison.

          1. 100% agree with this!It’s just too much.Then let all the teams copy Mercedes and there will be a championship full of Mercedes…I agree to copy some parts/to get inspiration from other teams but to copy effectively the car…just c’mon it’s way too much.

        2. I recommend to read what Carlos Sainz had to say on RP’s strategy, you can find the interviews from early March. Asking McLaren engineers why McLaren didn’t copy Mercedes too, they said it was impossible to go into so much internal and external detail to copy someone’s car. That’s about it and only a very naive person can cheer someone for their “cleverness” when there’s obviously something more to their approach. Not that they (and not only they) didn’t do everything in their power to conceal the links.

      2. I don’t mind the copying, I would mind them replacing Perez who has a contract for next year by Vettel.

      3. I don’t get people. I mean… we usually complain that there are only 3 teams fighting at the front, but suddenly one more appears and we don’t like it because “it’s a copy”.
        I don’t mind that midfields teams copy the winning cars ir order to fight at the front. I would love the fact that a gp starts and I could not tell who’s going to win it or be at the podium.

        1. I have no interest in F1 as a spec series, so even if “people” want more than three teams fighting at the front, going spec series or “b-team with last year’s a-team chassis” is not what I watch the engineering Pinnacle of Motorsports for.

          Even if this is a copy from photographs, it’s still a copy.

          I’m certainly is a valid option to go full spec series so everyone has an equal chance of winning regardless of engineering effort, but F1 was never that until now.

          1. I share your sentiments. However, it’s quite hard (and especially on this site) for some people to think critically and apply basis logic. Racing Point has, during one season, copied “photo images” of last year’s Mercedes while Mercedes has been developing very intricate concepts and complicated internal arrangement of the chassis for around five years. Yep, totally plausible. The nosecone itself has been progresivelly made thinner and thinner throughout five seasons but Racing Point has perfected the same design just by copying of what they see on the outside. The same goes for uniquely tight packaging of the rear, cooling areas etc. Are people really that blind? No, watching F1 being hijacked by a huge corporation is convenient for them. Mercedes is accomplice in this and they will soon be known as Lance Armstrong of F1.

            1. I think you are over staggering it a little bit comparing this to Lance Armstrong, but in essence I agree with you. There is no way Mercedes are not involved in this, as you just can’t copy an entire car based on photographs. The internals are definitely much more important than the externals. So even if you’d have the best photographer and copier in the world, you wouldn’t match it.

              Mercedes supplied them, it is illegal. And Mercedes is benefiting from this as their pink car is taking away points from their rivals, but is never close enough to fight the black cars. People who believe otherwise are ignorant. This is a very bad direction for F1.

              Also, I don’t understand the way FIA is enforcing the rules on this. As if they don’t recognise the harm this is doing to the future of this sport. Why focus solely on the brake ducts? Let Mercedes hand last year’s car over and strip it in and out to compare the two of them. If they are completely different, only then RP AND Mercedes go free.

            2. I meant over exaggerate obviously!

          2. Mate, it’s pretty clear you ain’t an engineer. Trust me, it is virtually impossible to recreate the performance of another vehicle by mere photographs

    2. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      17th July 2020, 22:29

      I’ve read so many times in articles and watched interviews with the teams where they’ve said you can’t just take a piece from one car and bolt it onto another as it won’t work the same. That you can’t even copy another as you don’t know what all the hidden parts are doing. That these cars are so ultra sensitive that even if one piece is slightly out of alignment there’s a performance drop – that all of it, from the front to the back needs to work in perfect harmony.

      Now either that’s complete rubbish and all these teams have chosen to waste millions stubbornly building their own designs as the secret to rebuilding these ‘ultra complex’ cars is a photograph, or there’s something… slightly iffy going on. And really the more this goes on the more ultra suspicious it feels.

      1. I think you are right, but its a lawyers playfield now. Bet it will all be legal but terrible sportmanship

    3. I say they’re not going to beat Max (assuming healthy intact car) no matter the track.

      1. They just did in fp 1 and 2!
        And maybe in the race as well.
        Max was not satisfied at all. In the wet and in the dry with his set up. It looks like rbr are going in the wrong direction.

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