Earlier this week we launched ”Season Stalls on The Starting Grid” a three part blog series looking at the effects of a delayed season on each team. In Sector 1, we looked at Williams, Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari.
Today we’ll be diving into the impact of this delay on McLaren, Racing Point and Alfa Romeo.
McLaren went about pre-season testing in a very methodical and very under the radar manner. It seemed the team managed to go through all their appropriate testing runs and programmes with limited issues or challenges.
Whilst that in itself is a really positive and string message to the field, the papaya car didn’t really light up the timesheets as perhaps some of the competitors around them. With the amount of progress made last year, staying on the same trajectory would see the team closing the gap even more on the top three, but the general sentiment from the press at testing was that other midfield cars may have made a slightly more significant pace increases. Whether that will be enough to leapfrog the Woking outfit is yet to be seen but overall the McLaren garage seemed eager to get wheels on tarmac in Melbourne.
With a season under his belt, Lando Norris will undoubtedly have more race-craft in 2020, the young Brit just needing to translate his quali speed into race-pace. And with Carlos Sainz fresh of the back of his first ever podium and an amazing P6 in the drivers championship, McLaren were certainly one to watch in 2020.
Assuming the progress promised translates into progress made, the McLaren team will certainly look to solidify their P4 in 2020 but maybe this year they will have their heads looking over their shoulder more so than to the top three above.
There’s been many a joke made at the expense of Racing Point in the last few weeks – Tracing Point, The Pink Mercedes and so on. But they will not care at all.
All the energy and noise coming from their garage is about how happy they are with their latest car, which is self-admittedly a close imitation to last years dual championship winning Mercedes. And that is why I feel the Racing Point team will be one of the most frustrated at the prospect of a long delay to the season.
They were so keen to get out on track and see if their test pace and simulations were to live up to the hype that has been built around this car the last few weeks and with Sergio Pérez as one of your drivers who can blame them.
An early opportunity for points and even podiums now gone for the team, who knows how much better they can make their time in the proceeding months, it will be interesting when we do finally get to watch them, to see if the reality lives up to the hype.
A very quiet testing on the press front for the Alpfa Romeo team.
The Ferrari engine under the livery showcasing its speed on day three in particular. Fan favourite Kimi Räikkönen banging in some quick laps to get people taking notice of the team who had mostly remained quite anonymous til day two.
Where they felt they would place in Melbourne was probably one of the main mysteries heading out of testing, pundits ranging them anywhere from 6th-9th in terms of best of the rest.
A few more months til we find out, but no doubt Alfa will be happy with some more time to tune their car and get Gio and Kimi ready for a late summer season opener.
Thats all for Sector 2! Final sector coming tomorrow with Renault, AlphaTauri and Haas up for review.
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