In Depth

F1: Racing Point gear up for battle of the midfield rivals

With a new car and title sponsor the Pink Panthers are in an optimistic mood ahead of the 2020 season

Formula 1’s “Pink Panthers”, the Racing Point F1 team, are excited for the new season after revealing their RP20 car and announcing BWT as title sponsor. 

Earlier this week CEO and team principal Otmar Szafnauer was joined by drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll at the unveiling of the RP20, which will make its on-track debut at pre-season testing in Barcelona on Wednesday. 

Racing Point finished seventh in the 2019 constructors’ championship with 73 points while Perez (52 points) and Stroll (21 points) were tenth and 15th in the drivers’ standings respectively. 

Looking ahead to the 2020 season, Szafnauer says the team have a target of winning the battle of the midfield. 

“It’s always difficult to make predictions this early in the year - but firstly, we need to start this season at a much higher level than we did in 2019 and that means right from the first test in Barcelona this week,” he said.

“I’m confident we can do this and our ultimate target is to be at the front of the midfield - but we also intend to end the year closer to third place than fifth. 

“We know that the car we will race in Melbourne is a significant step forward in every area, but where this puts us is dependent upon what our competitors have done over the winter.

“Stable regulations typically reduce the probability of shocks - but it’s important that we don’t underestimate anybody at this stage of the season.”

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Testing schedule 

Pre-season testing gets underway on Wednesday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain and on day one Perez and Stroll will share driving duties in the RP20.

Thursday will see Perez behind the wheel of the RP20 then Stroll will take over for Friday’s testing. 

Following the opening three-day test in Barcelona there will be a second testing session from 26-28 February.

Racing Point drivers Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez stand next to the RP20 F1 2020 car

Johann Groder/APA/AFP via Getty Images

What the drivers say about 2020

Sergio Perez

“It will be a long season but I’m looking forward to it. The support I have from my family is inspiring and I hope to have a wonderful year for them. I’m really looking forward to racing in Vietnam for the first time - which should be a great venue - and returning to Zandvoort after racing there in my junior career. 

“Last season we saw a very close fight in the midfield and we were in the middle of it. I will be happy if we can finish fourth in the constructors’ championship this season and get a few podiums - that would be a good season.”

Lance Stroll 

“For this year, the philosophy of our car has completely changed and there’s a lot of excitement that comes from that. This excitement is what Formula 1 is all about and if I no longer had that excitement, if I no longer had the butterflies, I wouldn’t be competing. 

“There are races like Spa and Monza that we all love driving - but it’s also fun when they throw some new tracks into the mix. Vietnam will offer a new challenge and so will Zandvoort with the new modifications. 

“2020 will be a long season. It’s important to kick off with some good results - but it’s a marathon. You’ve got to be consistent and score as many points as you can. That’s going to be our goal and we’ll see what that brings us after Abu Dhabi.”

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