Racing Point confirm SportPesa as title-sponsor, reveal 2019 livery

The newly re-branded Racing Point F1 Team who took over from midfield giants Force India have revealed their new livery along with a new title-sponsor SportPesa ahead of the 2019 season.

Force India went into administration in the summer of 2018 and a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll (father of Lance Stroll) purchased the teams assets and entered as a new team for the remainder of the season.

The team was re-branded Racing Point Force India for the interim as the team looked for a new name for 2019. Eventually the name Racing Point stuck after a failed attempt at finding a new name.

The team now benefits from extra funding as it looks to challenge the top three in the near future. Lance Stroll joins Sergio Perez in 2019 as the team targets 4th in the constructor’s championship.

“The targets are extreme, we really want to go to the next level. Now is the time to show what we can really do, now that we have all the tools in place.” Said Racing Point driver, Sergio Perez.

SportPesa has been confirmed as the teams title sponsor and is the first betting company to sponsor the team since Liberty removed restrictions on gambling advertisement last year. BWT remain as a sponsor and as such the car remains pink, something that team principal Otmar Szafnauer believes “has become iconic”.

“The long-term aim is to take this team to the very top of the sport.” He added.

“We are putting the building blocks in place and it’s important we take a good step forward in 2019 as we begin this new era. We want to be fighting for podiums on merit and aiming for a strong top four finish in the championship”

See images of the first Racing Point livery below:

Racing PointRacing Point 2Racing Point 3Racing Point 5

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Is this Williams’ secret to moving up the grid?

Williams are having the worst season in their history, 4 points and plum last in the constructors standings is appalling from a team with 9 constructors titles to its name but yet they have failed to win a single championship since 1997 with Jacques Villeneuve. The team is far from the richest on the grid and things are looking more desperate for the team financially thanks to them losing their Martini sponsorship and potentially losing Stroll’s backing too,  but Williams have a secret weapon at their disposal; Sergey Sirtokin.

Sergey is the only driver on the grid to have failed to score a point this season and has a season best finish of 13th in Austria but is it any wonder when you consider the performance of the car this season? A lot of people question if he has a place on the grid and only has a Formula One drive thanks to his SMP backing but this would do Sergey a disservice. In his two seasons competing in the GP2 championship he finished 3rd overall, won 3 races and claimed 5 pole positions. During his time in the junior series he showed promising speed and consistency albeit a few mistakes made in his second season costing him a title chance.

@SS 2

Sergey Sirotkin – Monaco 2015 (GP2)

The Russian also comes with a high level of technical knowledge courtesy of his degree which is part of SMP Racing’s driver programme. His degree is in Race Car Engineering which is a rarity for Formula One drivers to have these days and has no doubt helped them understand and set up what is a very tricky car. Earlier this year Sergey talked about what the programme involved: “The research work I did was basically the aspects where you take into account the setup work, the different weekends including different conditions and extra things on top of it, how you build up with a base with the certain conditions throughout the race weekend itself on the example of an F1 car” When Williams had their struggles at Silverstone when both of their cars spun off thanks to a stall at the rear of the car; Sergey’s feedback without a doubt would of helped Williams understand the problems sooner.

A lot of people have criticised Williams’ decision to sign two young and inexperienced drivers but as Paddy Lowe explains it’s not where the issues are. “We haven’t given them the equipment this year to fight for points, which is unfortunate but within that, they have stayed disciplined”. Despite the poor performance of the car Sergey has put in some very solid performances this season qualifying 13th in Monaco only for that result to be squandered thanks to a penalty due to the team fitting the tyres too late on the stating grid and then put in a solid qualifying in Germany outperforming the car and teammate Lance Stroll to qualify 12th. 

@F1 1

Sergey Sirotkin has the edge over his teammate in Qualifying

Its difficult to see where Sirtokin’s true pace is as Lance is still an unknown in only his second season but even he has raised his game this season and is no slouch, both drivers looked matched on race day but Sergey has the edge over his Canadian teammate in Qualifying. Williams may well write off this season, they will not realistically catch Sauber in the constructors standings and have a great opportunity to turn things around next season thanks to regulation changes but one thing is for certain, Sergey Sirtokin will only help their cause thanks to his technical knowledge which will help the team develop its cars in the coming seasons. Sergey will be fundamental in the cars development and we have already seen Williams slowly get better and better throughout this season. Williams find itself in a desperate situation but they have all the tools at their disposal to move back up the grid.

Williams will be in no rush to confirm its driver lineup for next season with multiple drivers linked to the team including George Russell and Robert Kubica but Williams did confirm that Sergey was on a “multi-year” deal at the beginning of the season when they announced him and he has certainly done enough to warrant a second season with the team and will only be helped by his SMP backing. He may be the only driver on the gird without a point to his name this season but Sergey Sirtokin has been one of this seasons understated performers.

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What now for F1’s driver market?

After a manic summer break the drivers market as taken a very different turn compared to what everyone believed 2 months ago. In this article we will take a look at some of the key drivers and teams in the driver market and try to somehow predict where its all going to go.

Force India

@SFI

Without a doubt the team that’s been busiest over the summer break after being rescued by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll it perhaps is one of the teams that is closest to deciding its driver lineup with Lance Stroll almost certain to move to the team that is currently sixth in the constructors championship right now. It is a team that has consistantly punched above its weight and considering the financial turmoil the team has suffered this season it still has a chance of finishing 4th in the constructors which is very impressive indeed, so it is no wonder that Lawrence would want to put his son in the team. With one seat looking to go to Lance Stroll a lot of talk has been around who will be retained by the team; Esteban Ocon or Sergio Perez? Its looking like its going to go the way of the Mexican, Perez confirming to Fox Sports that “Its just a matter of days or weeks” before he signs his 2019 deal with the team which leaves a question as to where Ocon’s future lies?

My Predictions: Lance Stroll/Sergio Perez

McLaren

@MCLAREN 2

It’s a seat a seat with many drivers names attached to it but it seems we are a long way away from a decision by the team with plenty of time to ponder its options after signing Carlos Sainz as Fernando Alonso’s replacement. Its not clear which direction the team will go down; do they retain Vandoorne in the aid of continuity and wait for Stoffel to show his undoubted talent and late 2017 season form, which hasn’t really shown itself this season?  Do they take a gamble on Lando Norris who still has plenty of time ahead of him? Do they take the Mercedes backed Esteban Ocon who has more than proved himself in his short time in the sport.

With the decision to run Norris in FP1 at Spa it seems that he is an option they are willing to pursue, helped by the fact they have a fast and experienced driver in Sainz signed up. Of course we have to see how he performs in Spa but this could be an early indication of what their position currently is and could see Vandoorne with limited options.

My Predictions: Carlos Sainz/Lando Norris

Toro Rosso

@McLaren 4Another team with plenty of drivers linked to the team including Daniil Kvyat it would be no surprise to see the Red Bull junior team to be one of the last to make a decision on its driver lineup.

With Pierre Gasly confirmed at Red Bull next season it leaves at least 1 seat open.

Its no secret that Red Bull would like to see Lando Norris in one of its cars but McLaren are not prepared to release him, however Stoffel Vandoorne looks like he will be a free agent next season and would be a perfect fit for the team. He is still relatively young and has got much potential and a fresh start may be what he needs not to mention he already has some experience with Honda and may be used in the negotiations with Toro Rosso and James Key.

The other seat is harder to call, Brendon Hartley hasn’t really showed his promise this season and has been eclipsed by his teammate which is rather an understatement. Dan Ticktum looks unlikely unless the FIA allow him to compete without the necessary super licence points. Although his name has been mentioned I cannot see Daniil Kvyat returning to the team as that would reflect badly on the team as they only dropped the guy last year. Another option could be Esteban Ocon if his options dry up but that would depend on Mercedes letting him go which I don’t think they will do in a rush. Its hard to call but I think the team will retain Brendon Hartley as other options dwindle.

My Predictions: Brendon Hartley/Stoffel Vandoorne

Williams

@EO.jpg

A team that has struggled massively this season and looks to have further struggles as it loses Martini sponsorship and Stroll’s financial backing.

Its future looks more and more like a team with close ties with Mercedes.

Sergey Sirtokin is a much underrated driver and has more than earned a second season with the team, he brings a high level of technical knowledge and feedback for a driver which is very valuable for a team with a car needing a lot of development, he also has plenty speed demonstrated in qualifying in Monaco and Germany not to mention his SMP financial backing, Sirotkin looks like he stays but what about the other seat?

This would appear to be a 3-way fight between Kubica, Russell & Ocon. Everyone would love to see Kubica back racing in F1 and has helped his cause by putting in solid FP1 performances but as the team looks for more support from Merecedes I believe they will target one of their drivers for the seat. George Russell has done a stunning job in F2 this season and looks good to win it in his first attempt but he has time on his side and Mercedes will be desperate to find Ocon a drive. Williams will be more competitive next season and may benefit from the 2019 regulation changes so Williams wouldn’t be a bad seat for Ocon to land.

My Predictions: Sergey Sirotkin/Esteban Ocon

The Ferrari Powered Cars

@F1 1These 3 teams all seem dependant on what Ferrari decides to do with its drivers. Leclerc looked set to join Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari but with the change in management after the tragic passing of Sergio Marchionne its looking less likely.

Kimi Raikkonen looks set to be retained by the Scuderia on a one or two year deal depending on which reports you choose to believe. With that in mind it would also look very likely that Leclerc will remain at Sauber as it aims to be at the front of the midfield next season. Ericsson’s backers mean that he has a good chance in partnering the Monegasque driver unless Ferrari can force Giovanazzi into that seat. Failing that they can try and place him at Haas next season to partner Magnussen but it all depends and whether Grosjean can continue his recent form.

Ferrari Predictions: Sebastian Vettel/Kimi Raikkonen 

Sauber Predictions: Charles Leclerc/Marcus Ericsson 

Haas Predictions: Kevin Magnussen/Romain Grosjean

 

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