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Racing Point reveal the biggest challenge they faced during the administration process

Written by  Dec 30, 2018

Racing Point F1 team boss Otmar Szafnauer has revealed some of the challenges he faced during the squad's difficult 2018 season.

Despite a very strong past two seasons, finishing fourth in the Constructors' Championship both times, the financial problems of former owner Vijay Mallya began to bite hard, leaving the then-Force India outfit struggling from the very start.

"We didn't start this season with the car we wanted to because we didn't have the funding to produce the parts," Szafnauer revealed in Formula 1's Beyond the Grid podcast.

"So we started the season with the car we produced for winter testing, which is never your best car. We couldn't change it until well into the season and the performances showed.

"We didn't score many points and the finances didn't look as though they were getting any better."

Though there were rumours of a potential takeover, no deal was done until the risk of insolvency caused Sergio Perez to file for administration over unpaid bills in an effort to save Force India from collapse in late July.

"For me personally, [it was] probably the most stressful year," Szafnauer admitted. "The stress mainly came from the uncertainty of what was going to happen with the team because of its financial status.

"Once the administration button was pressed by Sergio, the uncertainty grew but fortunately only for a couple of weeks.

"The role that I played was to keep the workforce together because you don't buy this place for its building or its land or its facilities," he explained.

"We lost nobody. Not a single soul. It was a big deal and difficult to do because usually the best people who are known to other teams will have had offers, and they did have offers from the likes of McLaren, Williams and Renault and some others.

"But we managed to do it, everybody stayed together, and in the end, the consortium led by Lawrence Stroll which was the successful bidder got the team they were looking to buy."

With new ownership now in place, the future is now looking bright for a team which has become known for punching above its weight because of the productivity of their staff.

But with new money doesn't always come immediate progress and while some modernisation of the infrastructure is needed, Szafnauer is keen to preserve their successful formula.

"We mustn't take our eye off the ball, which is building, designing, producing and developing a competitive racing car," he said.

"I've seen it so many times where teams have decided to either build a new wind tunnel or a new factory or new facilities, and the performance of the car has suffered.

"So we've got to be very careful that if we do embark - and we will embark on improving our facilities and infrastructure - that the car doesn't suffer."

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Certainly, the Racing Point F1 chief knows the team must keep improving in the face of tough competition next year.

“2019, I think, will be very competitive again in the midfield,” Szafnauer noted. “We saw Haas were much more competitive this year. Renault too finished fourth in the championship.

"Toro Rosso I believe will be sharing a lot with Red Bull next year, including the engine – [and] Honda will be getting better. So the midfield fight is going to be intense.

"We hope that we can be in that fight and be successful being the top of the midfield, so that would be fourth.”

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