Racing Point "reaped the reward" of taking "big risk" - Szafnauer
Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer believes the team "reaped the rewards" of a radical aerodynamic overhaul ahead of the 2020 season.
The RP20 took large inspiration from the 2019 championship-winning Mercedes W10. Having previously raced using a high-rake concept on the RP19, a concept run most notably by Red Bull, the change to a low-rake design was a radical one.
Szafnauer explained the 2018 takeover of then-Force India by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll had provided the team with the finances to make such a bold change.
"The entire grid apart from Mercedes runs a high-rake aero configuration, including us," he told GPFans.
"Forever, we wanted to go to a low-rake aero configuration, forever. We just didn't have the finances and the wherewithal to do it. We always, year-on-year, carry parts over because we couldn't afford new ones and therefore, it was a massive risk and a financial impossibility to not have a high-rake configuration.
"This was the first year where we had the finances to say 'ok, let's go to a low-rake aero configuration,' because that's what the gearbox is really designed for. We were always a half-step backwards because the gearbox won't allow us to do what we want to do aerodynamically at the rear.
"Having rear stability is what the drivers always complain about so we thought the best thing to do, now we can afford it, is to pursue what the gearbox was designed for aerodynamically.
With new aerodynamic regulations - now scheduled for 2022 - initially intended to be introduced next season, Szafnauer was forced to take a "big risk" when changing tact with the RP20.
"My big fear was that we didn't know what we didn't know, and we were going to take two steps backwards to take one step forward," he added. "At a time when we made a decision, we only had one year to do it.
"Then we had the new car in 2021. For me, it was a big risk. The thing I enjoyed was taking that risk and actually doing a good job over the winter and having a competitive car. That's what it's all about.
"We took the risk and we came out with a competitive car. For everyone to attack us and say 'oh, you know, they did...' they have no understanding of what we did. We designed, developed, we took the risk and we reaped the reward. Here we are with a decent season."
Cost-saving measures introduced to protect teams from the financial impact of Covid-19 mean there will be a large carryover of parts into 2021 with cars running largely unchanged machinery.
This has gifted Racing Point - soon to be Aston Martin - a second year to benefit from the payout of its gamble.
"That only happened because of the virus and the fact our income was significantly reduced," he said of the carryover.
"We don't want to have a significantly reduced income as well as twice the expense to make the new car, it just doesn't make sense. You are four times worse off than actually.
"So it did make sense to move it on a year, so now we get the benefit of actually changing aero philosophy and having done a good job for another year."
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