Szafnauer: Stroll firing on all cylinders ahead of Turkey

Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer has claimed that driver Lance Stroll is “firing on all cylinders” ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul this weekend.

The Canadian has been struggling for form since missing the Eifel Grand Prix due to illness, shortly before he tested positive for COVID-19.

Since finishing on the podium at Monza Stroll has not been in the points, although he he was forced to retire following incidents out of his control at Mugello and Sochi.

Racing Point’s technical director Andy Green suggested that the 22-year-old had taken a “physical and mental battering” recently, but Szafnauer claimed ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix that he expected Stroll to be back on top form this weekend.

“We shouldn’t forget this has been Lance’s best season in Formula 1 to date,” he said.

“He’s not only taken a podium, he’s also found a much greater level of consistency. After eight races he was P4 in the standings and on fantastic form. Unfortunately, since then he’s had a series of setbacks that have been largely out of his hands.

“He was firmly in podium contention in Mugello before a freak puncture took him out of the race and was looking good in Russia before he was hit by [Charles] Leclerc. Of course, he then missed Germany through illness and all that positive momentum he had worked so hard to build was swept out from underneath him. But now, Lance is in great shape, firing on all cylinders and he’s ready for the final few races.”

The Silverstone-based team are currently embroiled in a tight battle for third in the constructor’s championship with Renault and McLaren, sitting in fifth just one point adrift of the French manufacturer in third.

“I fully expect the battle to go right down to the wire in Abu Dhabi,” Szafnauer added.

“That’s a measure of just how strong the competition is. We’re only a point off P3 right now and anything can happen, so we’ll dig deep, give it everything we’ve got, and treat the final stretch as a four-race Championship where we aim to come out on top. We believe the RP20 is well suited to Turkey, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, so we expect to be strong in all four of the remaining races. It’s down to us now to maximise the performance potential of our package and secure solid points in all of the remaining races.”