Racing Point have a car that can possibly challenge Red Bull for Formula 1’s second-best team at some races this year, says CEO Otmar Szafnauer.
Having taken the controversial decision to produce a 2020 car that is a facsimile of last year’s title-winning Mercedes, Racing Point have enjoyed a significant jump in performance this season that has them realistically in podium contention.
And while F1 has only raced on one track across two races, Szafnauer has seen enough from his team to give him hope he can challenge the Red Bulls – widely regarded as Mercedes’ closest competitors – on certain occasions.
“I think at some tracks the answer is yes, and others no,” he said in response to a question from Sky Sports F1. “But I think there will be some circuits where we will be nearly as strong as Red Bull.”
Indeed, Racing Point driver Sergio Perez said after Friday practice in Hungary that the team’s performance in difficult conditions has him believing they can deliver another strong weekend.
“Today was a good opportunity to prove that we had found improvements in wet conditions compared to Austria,” he said. “That gives me confidence for tomorrow – regardless of the conditions.
“I think we can target a place in Q3 and build from there. Everyone was on different programmes today and there was only the one practice session in ideal conditions, but I think we’ve made a good step in further understanding our car.”