D he times of the permanent financial crisis with the newly formed Racing Point team are over. The budget was increased by 20 percent to 140 million US dollars compared to the previous year. However, not much has changed in terms of personnel. The team leadership consists of the same people who successfully kept the clammy team afloat for years.
The fresh money also had no influence on the size of the team: “We now have 425 employees. Before we were at 400, ”explains team boss Otmar Szafnauer. “We want to grow slowly. One new employee comes after another. Our plan is for around 50 new additions in 2019. So at the end of the season we should be 475. But first we have to find the right people. ”
Most of all, the development department should be expanded. One would also like to hire more people in production, but there is limited space: “We have to build new buildings first and invest in machines,” says Szafnauer regretfully. The plans for expanding the factory have long been completed. The approval process is currently underway. So it will take a while for the excavators to roll into Silverstone.
New boxes, new motorhome
Until then, the team has to get by with the latest equipment. According to Szafnauer, the first investments in equipment only concerned things that are not directly related to the performance of the cars. For example, a new facility for the pit garage was purchased. At the European kick-off in Barcelona, the team is also moving into a new motor home. Head of Technology Andy Green cheers mockingly: 'We finally have laptops that are not eight years old but modern devices with the current Windows version.'
As far as the car is concerned, Teamspitz warns that expectations are too high. Engineer Green explains why: “The fundamental decisions for the current car were made before the change of ownership. In retrospect, we would have done a few things differently in the construction. But we couldn't have guessed that so much fresh money was coming in. It will take some time for the money to be converted into a faster car. '
There is one fundamental difference for the technicians:' We now have the money to bring every small development step to the car . In the past, we always had to wait forever with production until a new aero package was really worth it. If we can now find a few tenths in the wind tunnel, the changes will be implemented immediately. ”
RP19 comes to Melbourne as a B version
The accelerated implementation of the technical ideas also had an impact the test drives in Barcelona. Because the development curve has been so steep in recent weeks, the engineers decided to only bring an interim car to the winter test. This collected data on the correlation with the wind tunnel in Catalonia. And of course the components have been checked for their durability.
At the start of the season, Racing Point will then compete with a completely modified car, which should be significantly stronger, especially on the aerodynamic side. “We know that we will come to Melbourne with the best possible car that reflects the current state of our development. Unfortunately, that was not the case in the past few years, 'says Green happily.
According to Green, the mood and motivation among his engineers is better than it has been for a long time. You can finally show what you can do and not be held back by financial shackles. “There used to be a lot of things that distracted us from the actual work. We had to keep the team alive and make decisions that had nothing to do with the development of the car. And now we can finally focus on the performanceconcentrate. '
Racing Point gets parts on time
Green describes how dramatic the situation has been in recent years:' In the past, the budget tended to vanish into thin air. It is the worst possible scenario of thinking that money is there when there is none. And you've already spent everything before a race lap has been completed. Now we know that our guaranteed budget is actually coming. We can therefore concentrate more on our actual work. ”
With the takeover, all old debts were paid off in a short time. That has completely changed the way we work with the suppliers: “We suddenly get all the parts on the date we ordered. It's a whole new way of working for us. It's almost a bit of a shock. But you could also call it normal. So we're developing into a normal team, ”jokes Green.
The goal for 2019 was 4th place. There are no more excuses. Newcomers Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez have to assert themselves against strong competition in the narrow midfield. And the engineers have to prove that they can use the money wisely. But Green is already one step further with his thoughts: “In 2020 we definitely want to take a big leap forward. That's why we've already started work on the car after that. ”