Racing Point to field 'quite different' car in Melbourne

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Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer says the 2019 contender that the team will roll on to the grid in Melbourne next weekend will be "quite different" from the RP19 seen in pre-season testing.

While no particular issues appeared to impact the pink squad's running in Barcelona, the team wasn't exactly singled out for its performance or mileage.

But Szafnauer contends that Racing Point made a strategic decision to "hold back" during testing, as its car was nowhere near the specs that will be seen in Australia.

"Winter testing saw us achieve our main objectives and we took away a lot of positives, but the car you will see in Melbourne is quite different from the car we ran in Barcelona," said the American.

"We took the strategic decision to give ourselves the maximum time to develop the car, to maximise our performance at the first race, and that meant holding back a little during testing.

"It’s not easy introducing new parts late in the day and we know it will be a steep learning curve, but we believe this approach will pay off in the long run."

After last season's hardship and financial tribulations, the Silverstone-based outfit starts afresh this year with Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, but on a solid foundation and with the ambition of reclaiming its lost territory at the head of F1's mid-field.

"We begin 2019 with a new identity and new energy," added the Racing Point boss.

"There’s fresh investment, too, with new partners joining us, but it takes time for this investment to be translated into performance on the track.

"A big part of the RP19 was designed before the new shareholders acquired the team so this is very much a year of transition.

"The aim this year is to take a step forward and compete at the front of the midfield once again.

"We recognise this won’t be an easy task because it’s shaping up to be one of the closest midfields we have seen for a long time – with just a few tenths separating a handful of teams.

"We are realistic about the challenge ahead of us and the amount of work needed to achieve our objectives.

"It’s a long season and we have a solid development plan in place. I’d like to think we can be fighting for points in Melbourne and that’s certainly the first objective heading into the first race weekend."

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