Lance Stroll will get exclusive use of Racing Point’s latest upgrade in Sochi, after the team ran out of time to get a second version ready for Sergio Perez.
The Silverstone-based outfit had hoped to run both its car with the latest updates for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, but that plan suffered a setback when Stroll badly damaged his car in a crash at Mugello a fortnight ago.
The incident, which was caused by a puncture after a tyre was cut, meant the team lost all the new parts that it had run there – so had to start from scratch again.
With the factory only able to produce enough parts for one car this weekend, the team has again given them to the driver who is ahead in the drivers’ championship standings, which is Stroll.
With a fortnight after this weekend until the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, the team is confident that it can get both its car running the upgrades for then.
The latest upgrade is a significant one and includes shrink-wrapped sidepods, new floor, new front, new engine cover and new brake ducts.
Speaking at the Tuscan Grand Prix, team principal Otmar Szafnauer reckoned that the improvement were worth several tenths of a second per lap.
“It is hard to know [exactly],” said Szafnauer about the lap time difference. “However our upgrade was meant to be a couple or three tenths, and that is exactly what the performance difference was [between the two cars].”
Racing Point is currently locked in the fight for third place in the constructors’ championship after a season where it has worked hard to better understand its new concept of car.
With its form in qualifying and the race having fluctuated, the team now believes it is better to focus more on how to perfect its setup for Sundays rather than worrying about single lap form.
“Traditionally, we’ve always set up for race day and I think this year, with the car that we have, we’re also looking more towards qualifying form,” said Szafnauer earlier this week.?
“But we’ve now regrouped a bit and reviewed our recent race weekend and decided that we will start focusing more on race day – as we did in Monza and Mugello.
“If you lean towards having a better race car than qualifier, you tend to get the payback on Sunday.”
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