One of the unwritten rules in Formula One is that only the big car manufacturer-backed teams with huge budgets win world titles. The rest simply don’t stand a chance.
Throughout the history of the sport, with one or two notable exceptions, this has certainly been the case. But now, one team, in particular, is looking to buck the trend and challenge the top dogs of the sport. That team, led by a group of new shareholders including Lawrence Stroll, is Racing Point.
Having saved the Force India team from administration, the Canadian businessman is not just in the sport for a whim. He is aiming for the very top.
“Short term, we want to stay fighting where we are,” Stroll told the official F1 website. “Medium term, we want to try and fight for third, instead of fourth. Long term, when all the rules change, hopefully, we will be one of the greatest teams in the paddock.”
“I will be very involved,” says Stroll. “The plan is number one – ‘Nothing is broke here so you don’t need to fix it’. It already has great leadership and management in the team. They have been doing this for a long time and doing a great job. So it’s about supporting them. Number two – it’s about putting financial stability in place.”
Key to the team’s success has been a steadfast ethos in putting every single dollar from its partners into car development. And instrumental in the success has been the important work of its technical partners, including Acronis.
Commercial Director Steve Curnow spoke about this vital partnership during a partner event during this year’s race weekend in Singapore.
“Without the support of our technical partners, the car wouldn’t run,” said Curnow. “For example, we have around 300 sensors on the car collecting a huge amount of data we need to analyze and the first thing we need to do is protect that data because there are nine other teams up and down the grid that would love to know the data coming off our car at the moment. Data protection is an extremely important part of what we do in Formula One. There is no other sport where if you didn’t have the technical partnerships, the sport wouldn’t function.”
According to Curnow, the reason for the team’s success lies in sticking to its ‘unique DNA’ and extracting the maximum out of its workforce and operating budget.
“It’s incredible for a team of our size with the budget that we’ve got to have finished fourth for the last two years. Our total annual operating budget is the same amount of money that some top teams receive just for turning up on the grid. We should not be where we are, but we are there because of something very unique and that’s the DNA within Force India and the way in which we operate.
“Every single dollar that we get from our partners is put into car performance. We are not a soft drink, we are not a car manufacturer. We don’t sell anything so for us, all our effort is put into car performance and eking out that tenth of a second. We mustn’t lose that DNA. We are not in fourth place because of luck but because we deserve to be in fourth place. We are a challenger, a disrupter to the way in which people have done Formula One traditionally. We want to attempt to break into the top three next year. That is the challenge that Lawrence has set the team.”