Stroll crash threatens Perez upgrades for Russia

Date published: September 15 2020

Lance Stroll’s crash in the Tuscan Grand Prix has left Racing Point in a race against time to have upgrades on both of their cars for the next round at Sochi.

Only one set of new parts was available for Mugello and it went to the Canadian, who was challenging for a second consecutive podium position when his car suffered a suspected puncture at the Arrabbiata 2 corner and speared into the tyre barrier.

Sergio Perez, who leaves the team at the end of the season to make way for Sebastian Vettel, was due to get the updated package on his car for the Russian Grand Prix.

The changes included new shrink-wrapped sidepods, a new floor, a new front wing, new engine cover and new brake ducts.

It is the first major upgrade Racing Point have had since the start of the season, when they first became embroiled in the controversy over copying last year’s Mercedes – a furore which saw them penalised 15 constructors’ World Championship points and a 400,000 euros fine.

But Stroll’s crash, and the subsequent recovery of the car which appeared to be on fire, caused extensive damage and a lot of the new parts will have been destroyed in the impact.

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It means that if Racing Point are to provide both Stroll and Perez with use of the upgrades in Sochi, they will need to ramp up production processes to get everything turned around so they can be flown to Russia in time.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer, quoted by Motorsport.com, said: “We’ll have to do a lot of work to get enough parts together for both of them to have the upgrade in Russia.”

Stroll being in the battle for the podium at Mugello – he was racing Daniel Ricciardo and eventual P3 finisher Alex Albon at the time of his exit – has left Racing Point confident the new parts delivered the step forward in lap-time hoped for.

“It’s hard to know [exactly],” said Szafnauer about the lap-time difference. “However, our upgrade was meant to be a couple or three tenths, and that’s exactly what the performance difference was.”

Perez, who finished P5 but did not have the pace of his team-mate, said after the race he was relishing the opportunity of having the updates in Sochi.

“The package looked good and I’m definitely looking forward to having it in Russia,” said the Mexican.

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