Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Hungaroring, 2020

Racing Point make leap forward as Red Bull can’t match their 2019 pace

Lap time watch: 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez will line up on the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, respectively 16 and 12 places better than they qualified last year.

Yesterday the team’s CEO Otmar Szafnauer said he thought there would be some races this year where the team could challenge Red Bull. His prediction appears to have come true quickly.

The pink cars have already out-qualified both RB16s, only one of which made it into Q3. Against the expectations of many Red Bull, the team who took pole position for the last running of this race, are actually slower than they were 12 months ago.

Racing Point are 2.7 seconds quicker, a gain which is vastly greater than that any of their rivals have managed. The next most-improved team, Williams, have found less than half as much time compared to last year.

At the last race both Racing Point cars made their way to the front quickly after qualifying in the bottom half of the field. With a grid position advantage over everyone bar Mercedes tomorrow, they have a strong chance of delivering their best result of the season so far, and are staring at a potential podium finish.

Whether they can sustain this rapid pace over a race distance, and whether they will be as competitive at other circuits which do not share the Hungaroring’s tight, high-downforce characteristics, remains to be seen.

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Last year the Hungaroring saw the second-biggest year-on-year improvement in lap times.

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Lap times continue to improve rapidly at this circuit. The current cars are now 9.3 seconds faster than the Formula 1 machines of six years ago.

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2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

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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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20 comments on “Racing Point make leap forward as Red Bull can’t match their 2019 pace”

  1. So a 2019 Mercedes is faster than a 2020 Red Bull ;-)

    1. On this track so was the 2019 Red Bull.

      1. @tallen that’s the notable thing – if Verstappen had set a lap time with the RB16 that just matched what he did last year in the RB19, he would have been two or three places higher than he is now.

        It’s not just the amount of time that Mercedes has gained – it’s that Red Bull, on a circuit which was expected to be stronger for them, have ended up going quite a bit slower than first expected and have just looked off the pace in general.

    2. The RP w10 B lapped around the same mark as last season.
      RB has had a shocker of a weekend.
      this years Tauri, last years bull, on the same hands with Gasly, went about the same pace, around the same laptime.

      1. @peartree Not last year’s bull if you try to imply what I think you try to imply.

        1. @jerejj it’s a case of exaggeration to make the point – that said, the Alpha Tauri cars have been maximising the amount of technological transfer they can do, along the lines of Haas. It’s part of the reason why Toro Rosso’s own head of design described their 2019 car as having the back end of Red Bull’s car grafted onto it.

        2. not trying to imply a thing, everyone on the grid knows that 3 teams are running 2019 cars, does not matter how. Seidl said as much.
          the rules signed by the 3 top teams and the fia have allowed this scenario.

  2. AR with the third biggest improvement and still qualified last. Not looking good fellas.

    1. Sorry I’m mixing up the Alphas with the Alfas lol

      1. I’m doing that a fair bit myself…

      2. Ahah, it’s much easier to call them sauber and toro rosso no matter the name changes! Oh, and force india!

  3. It’s insane that I honestly hope 2019 Merc could properly challenge 2020 Merc tomorrow.

  4. This track with these tyres show how PU power was affected by the directives. the gains here were far greater than Austria’s.

  5. @peartree
    I think that explains in a part what is happening to RBR. The FIA has issued at least 4 technical directives related to the PU before the start of the season. One of them related to the second fuel sensor which neutralized Ferrari’s power advantage.
    According to Mark Hughes two out of the 3 TDs that were issued by FIA were the result of the collaboration with Ferrari and FIA as part of the settlement and they are related to oil burn and the ERS system and were probably aimed at RBR. So, Binotto might have a point when he said that Ferrari is not the only team who lost performance due to the new regulations.

    1. @tifoso1989 for what it is worth, during the 2019 Brazilian GP, it was noted that, asides from a Ferrari power unit being temporarily impounded by the FIA for inspection, an engine from “another manufacturer” was impounded. The FIA did not state at the time whom that manufacturer was, but it was rumoured that it had been a Honda power unit that had been seized for inspection.

      1. Thanks for the additional info.

  6. Given Racing Points massive performance gain, are we still going to believe it’s been designed by “copying” and that somehow the engineers by sheer good fortune managed to get every single nuance exactly right, even all of those that were hidden from view

    Or

    Are we going to accept that it really is last years Mercedes chassis, most likely acquired around season end, that has then possibly been tweaked by their engineers.

    I can see this blowing up in a major way as there’s at least 3 teams that are not going to be happy about this. Liberty/FIA however I’m guessing see it as a positive because there’s a new “player” at the front end so they’ll see this as great news.

    Lots more of this to play out….

    1. @dbradock Why do people keep thinking it’d physically be the W10 even though it isn’t? It just looks like it from the outside but isn’t the actual one, which is a bit different.

      1. @jerejj that remains to be seen or proved. Their lap times suggest otherwise.

        If the car looks like last years Mercedes and performs like last years Mercedes, it’s far more likely to be last years Mercedes that someone’s attempt to reverse engineer one from photos. To manage that without a massive amount of testing and have it perform without some form of correlation issues is beyond believable.

    2. @dbradock mind you, to some extent that does reflect on the fact that Racing Point were also abnormally slow in 2019, with the 2019 Hungarian GP being their worst qualifying performance of the season – don’t forget that they managed to get themselves out-qualified by a Williams when Williams were running one of their least competitive cars for years.

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