MARCH 7, 2019
Racing Point becoming normal team
2019 will be a transition year for the team formerly known as Force India.
That is the view of team boss Otmar Szafnauer, when asked by Auto Motor und Sport about the future of the new Lawrence Stroll-owned 'Racing Point' outfit.
Force India almost collapsed financially last year prior to the Stroll acquisition, and the re-branded operation then had a particularly quiet winter test season.
But behind the scenes, Racing Point is building up. The budget has been boosted to $140 million, up 20 per cent. And it is now on a personnel recruiting drive.
"We now have 425 people," said Szafnauer. "Before we were at 400.
"We want to grow slowly. There is one new employee after another. Our plan is for about 50 new people in 2019, so by the end of the season we should be at 475. But we have to find the right people first."
The problem with that is that the team's current factory at Silverstone is limited.
"We need to build new buildings and invest in machinery," Szafnauer admits.
A new motor home will arrive for the European season, and technical boss Andy Green said: "We finally have laptops that are not eight years old with old versions of Windows."
A 'B' version of its 2019 car is set to debut in Australia.
Green explained: "The basic choices for the current car were made even before the change of ownership. In retrospect, we would have done a few things differently, but we could not have guessed that fresh money is coming in.
"It will take some time for the money to turn into a faster car."
But the money will at least be able to be spent on in-season car development.
"Previously, we had to wait forever with the production, until a new aero package was well worth it," said Green. "But if we find a few tenths in the wind tunnel now, the changes will be implemented immediately."
Green also said Racing Point can now focus on producing a better car rather than "keeping the team alive".
For instance, all the debts to team suppliers have been settled.
"Suddenly we are getting all of our parts on the date we expect. This is a completely new way of working for us. Almost a shock. We are evolving into a normal team," he smiled.
"In 2020, we definitely want to make a big leap forward," said Green. "That's why we've already started working on the next car."