Only days after recording an encouraging double points finish at the Belgian Grand Prix, Acronis partner team SportPesa Racing Point travels to Monza in high spirits for the Italian Grand Prix.
Of course, it was a difficult weekend for all involved at Spa-Francorchamps, but the show goes on. And for Sergio Perez, his sixth-place finish gives much encouragement heading into Italy and the races to come.
“It felt good to be back in the points at Spa,” said Perez in his team’s race preview. “The car was competitive from the start of the weekend and I think we got the result we deserved after some disappointing races. We know we have the potential to be much stronger in the second half of the season and Spa shows what we can achieve when everything comes together.
“Monza should be another strong weekend for us. Hopefully, we can continue with the speed we showed in Spa. It’s another very quick track and the car works well in low downforce spec. To be quick, you have to be brave on the brakes and attack the kerbs. In qualifying, on low fuel, it’s a big challenge and you have to be so precise.
“Monza is a special place to go racing and always a highlight of the year. It’s so quick, quite narrow in places and historic. The Tifosi have so much passion and it reminds me of the atmosphere we have in Mexico.”
Teammate Lance Stroll is also a fan of the historic Monza circuit, known as the ‘Temple of Speed’. And after also finishing in the points in Spa, the Canadian is hopeful of another strong showing over the weekend.
“I’ve always enjoyed racing at Monza – right back to my F3 days – and it’s one of those races where the atmosphere is really powerful,” said Stroll. “As a fan of the sport, I know how important Monza is to Formula 1 and I hope it always has a place on the calendar. I’ve had good days there, too, including the wet qualifying of 2017, which is probably my strongest memory.
“I’d like to think we can show some good pace like we did last weekend. We took some important steps forward in Spa and the balance of the car feels better compared to the races before the summer break. We’re still in the learning phase of these updates so there’s more potential for sure.”
Approaching the final third of the season, the battle for midfield points is really hotting up, with only a handful of points separating the teams vying for the title of ‘best of the rest’ behind the big three. And with more upgrades to come, CEO and team principal Otmar Szafnauer is hopeful Racing Point can challenge for that title.
“We’ve made some significant progress over the last couple of months and the new direction we have taken with the updates since Germany is paying off,” added Szafnauer. “We will bring further elements of our new aero philosophy in Singapore before we shift all our resources to the 2020 car.
“As ever, the middle of the grid remains incredibly tight. With the points being spread pretty evenly across a number of teams it’s not easy to make up a deficit, but we won’t give up. We’re only 11 points away from fifth place, for example, so there’s everything to play for with eight races to go.”