BWT Racing Point proud of strong season as emotional Perez signs off

The BWT Racing Point team, partnered by Acronis, remained proud of a strong 2020 season despite losing third in the constructors’ standings to rivals McLaren.

It was an unfortunate end to the season for the Silverstone based team in Abu Dhabi, as Sergio Perez came down from the highs of his fantastic Sakhir GP victory with a lap 10 retirement due to a suspected oil pressure issue.

The Mexican was up against it from the outset, an engine part change meaning he would start from the back of the grid regardless. Yet he still harboured hopes of another charge through the field, having already gained a series of places before misfortune struck.

“I’m really sad that my final race with the team ended so early and with a repeat of the engine problem we had in Bahrain,” said Perez afterward. “I really wanted to sign off with a strong race for everyone in the team. I hope people remember winning the Sakhir Grand Prix instead of this weekend! Looking at the bigger picture, it’s a real shame to have retired because we needed to get both cars into the points today to take P3 in the Constructors’ Championship.”

Always gracious in victory and defeat, Perez congratulated McLaren on their third place finish and paid tribute to his own team after taking fourth place in the drivers’ standings.

“Congratulations to McLaren, but I think we can still be very proud of our season. We won a race, took podiums and were just so unlucky in some situations – especially with both drivers having to miss races. On my side, I’m delighted that we were able to get P4 in the Drivers’ Championship. This season has been really special, but I’m ready for a break now and I’m very much looking forward to the future.”

For Lance Stroll, it was yet another case of what might have been, as the Canadian found himself held up by Carlos Sainz’s McLaren in the pitlane and then future teammate Sebastian Vettel on track.

“That was a tough race today and we were on the backfoot once Checo had to retire through no fault of our own,” said Stroll. “It then caused a safety car, which I’m not totally sure was the right decision, and then there was the incident with Sainz holding me up in the pitlane. That cost us time, but we still struggled at times in the race. There were moments when our pace was strong, but it wasn’t consistent enough. The tyre life and temperature also dropped off significantly at the end, which cost us a place to Esteban [Ocon]. We need to look into why that was the case.

“It’s a shame that we weren’t able to take P3 in the Constructors’ Championship because I think everyone in the team deserved it for all their hard work. We’ve had some real highs this year and there’s been missed opportunities too – so there’s plenty to reflect on and improve in the future. It’s disappointing right now, but we need to remember that the team has an exciting future beginning in 2021 as the Aston Martin Formula 1 Team and that there will be more good days to come.”

Regardless of the disappointments of the final race of the season, it was still one the team can justifiably be proud of, with Perez also missing out on two races with coronavirus and the team perhaps controversially also being docked points that ultimately cost them third.

“A difficult evening where things didn’t go our way,” reflected Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal. “Lance’s race was heavily compromised by being held up by Sainz deliberately driving slowly in the pitlane, while Sergio retired on lap 10 with a loss of power. Those developments left us facing an uphill task to retain third place in the Constructors’ Championship and we finished just seven points shy of that goal in the end. It’s been a year of missed opportunities for several reasons – including more than our fair share of bad luck that cost us valuable points.

“We will take the disappointment tonight in our stride and focus on the positives of an incredibly strong season where we enjoyed some great moments. We have shown that we have a competitive car and team, which will give us a great base to come back even stronger in 2021 under the Aston Martin name. A big ‘thank you’ to everybody in the team for their huge efforts and a fond farewell to Sergio after seven years with the team. We wish him all the best for the future.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.