April 12, 2019 / 11:31 AM / 4 months ago

Racing Point feeling after-effects of Force India struggles

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Canadian-owned Racing Point need time to recover from the effects of last year, when they were Force India and had to be rescued from administration, the Formula One team’s technical director Andrew Green said on Friday.

Formula One F1 - Chinese Grand Prix - Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China - April 12, 2019 Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen in action during practice REUTERS/Aly Song TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

After two races, the Silverstone-based team are a disappointing ninth overall and ahead only of fallen champions Williams.

“We’re not a long way behind, but I think our weaknesses were probably exposed in the first couple of races,” Green told reporters at the Chinese Grand Prix.

“I think we have to remember that the car was originally conceived in the mid-to-late part of last year, when the team was in serious trouble. We were really struggling at that point. 

“We had to make quite a few decisions about the car and the architecture of the car ... not really knowing what was going to happen with the team, whether there was even going to be a team. We are still getting out of that.”

Force India, co-owned by troubled Indian magnate Vijay Mallya, went into administration in July and were taken over by a consortium led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, starting over as Racing Point.

Stroll’s son Lance, who had raced for Williams, is now one of their drivers.

Green had said in February the team were effectively starting a new book, rather than just a new chapter, with far more resources.

Force India, despite their financial woes, finished fourth in the championship in 2016 and 2017.

Racing Point were seventh last season, an impressive feat considering they started with a clean slate from August.

With fresh funding, after Force India laboured under significant debts and had their bank account frozen towards the end, the Silverstone-based team were tipped to be among the leaders in a tight midfield group.

Green said the team no longer had to worry about finances under Stroll but it would take time for investment to bear fruit.

Racing Point have reached an agreement to use engine supplier Mercedes’ wind tunnel in Brackley starting later this year and have a plan to return to their “target level of performance”, he said.

“It’s easy now to say that we have the bills paid at the end of each month, which we never used to be able to say, so it’s one less thing to worry about,” said Green. “We’re in a much better place now, but improvements take time.”

Editing by Alan Baldwin and Andrew Cawthorne

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