Szafnauer: Pink Mercedes didn’t come without risk

Racing Point RP20

Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer said that the decision to base the RP20 on last season’s Mercedes did not come “without risk”.

The Silverstone team set about copying the six-time world champion’s aerodynamic philosophy over the off-season and have seen excellent results, with Racing Point currently sat fourth in the constructors’ standings.

However, the design has drawn criticism from fellow teams and Renault issued a protest against the team’s brake ducts following both the Styrian and Hungarian Grand Prix.

Asked about at the Hungarian Grand Prix how Racing Point management came to the decision to base their design so heavily on the W10, Szafnauer said: “It doesn’t come without risk. We didn’t know that what we were doing was going to work to the level that it has. There was a big risk that we were going to take a step backwards. And as a matter of fact when we started developing this in the tunnel with ideas that we saw through pictures we took a huge step backwards. I mean, huge. Seconds a lap slower at the beginning.

“It was our own learning that we did through the developed a process of CFD and tunnel work and then more designs and redesigns that got us to the place we did. So the closer or the better high-rake solution that you have, the bigger the risk of changing to something else.

“With us, we’ve been wanting to do it forever. And we buy our gearbox from Mercedes where that gearbox is designed with a lower CofG [centre of gravity] car in mind. So we always had compromises at the rear of the car where the downforce is critical to have a stable rear end. And we’ve always wanted to get away from the high-rake solution because of the compromise at the rear of the car because we’re buying our gearbox from Mercedes. This was the first year we were able to change it.”