FIRST EUROPEAN RACE OF THE SEASON BRINGS FIRST MAJOR UPGRADES FROM ALL TEAMS
Coming from a point scoring race from both cars in Baku, SportPesa Racing Point is showing up in Barcelona with a first major revision to their cars. But they are not the only ones as all other teams take this first European race opportunity to update their cars on the mechanical and aerodynamic sides.
So where will they stand after Friday? Otmar Szafnauer shares his reflection on the up-coming weekend. “It’s nice to reflect on a strong result in Baku. Getting both cars in the points and finishing best of the rest represents a really solid effort by the team. We knew the track had good potential and it was important we made the most of the opportunity”, Szafnauer said. “Barcelona – the first European race of the year – is always an important milestone. It’s the time when most teams bring big updates and we are no exception with a combination of mechanical and aerodynamic parts to try out on Friday. I’m not expecting any major surprises this weekend, but I’d like to see us remain at the front of the midfield fight and scoring points once again”, he concludes.
Lance Stroll who came away from Baku having scored precious points is looking forward to this first European GP of the season. “As we return to Europe, we always see a big development race up and down the grid. We’ve got some updates coming and it’s going to be interesting to see how we compare to the teams around us this weekend”, he said. “It’s been a few months since we were in Barcelona for winter testing, so it’s a good chance to see how much progress we have made with the car – even though track conditions will be very different in May.”
And Lance to add: “Barcelona is a very technical track. You have to find your rhythm because so many of the corners flow into the next one. You have to get the car well-balanced in the high-speed corners to give you confidence in the first couple of sectors. It’s a track we all know well from testing and so it’s usually a very close grid.”
You have to like Sergio Perez’s optimism when looking at the Baku results. “The result in Baku was a big boost for us. We were competitive all weekend and we got both cars home in the points. We have now scored points in every race so far this year and we need to keep up this momentum”, Perez said.
And even though they have completed pre-season testing earlier this year at Barcelona, Perez feels it is still a challenge. “I’m looking forward to racing in Barcelona. The early-season fly-away races are exciting, but it is nice to be back in Europe getting ready for some of the more traditional races. Of course, Barcelona is a track where we’ve already done so much testing and I don’t think there are any more secrets to discover from the track.”
“Even after two weeks of winter testing in Barcelona, finding the right set-up for the race weekend remains a challenge. The data you have from testing is not the most relevant and the temperatures will be very different. Completing a clean and tidy Friday is therefore really important to get the tyre data for the race. It’s also famous for being a track where overtaking is extremely difficult so you have to focus on really maximizing qualifying.”
Image: Racing Point F1
Photographer & Editor