Formula 1

Racing Point’s Perez: Everything looks bad after Barcelona practice

Sergio Perez says “everything looks bad” after struggling to optimise Racing Point’s Formula 1 update package in Spanish Grand Prix practice, which he finished faster only than the Williams drivers.

Perez’s struggles – the Mexican finished 17th in FP1 – compounded a challenging day for Racing Point, as Lance Stroll’s crash in first practice meant he could not run the full package in the second session.

New parts are due to arrive in Spain on Friday evening, however, and Stroll will be back to full spec on Saturday.

The team has brought new front suspension to Barcelona along with a package of aerodynamic updates, including the front of the floor, bargeboards and brake ducts.

“It was a tricky day,” said Perez.

“[I had] a couple of issues here and there, a lot to analyse for tonight, and hopefully we can can get some lap time and extract some potential of the car.

“We seem to be competitive on a couple of occasions, but then we were quite far away.

“At the moment everything looks very bad, as it looked on the Friday last year. So a lot to be analysed tonight, and hopefully we can pick up some pace and be further up the grid.

“It’s early to say. We will know later on, but certainly we are not where we want to be. We will see. I think tomorrow we will have a clear idea of where we are.”

Technical director Andrew Green downplayed Perez’s struggles, and remained confident that any issues were set-up related rather than anything fundamental.

“Around here it’s really good to get a good balance,” said Green, when asked by Autosport about Racing Point’s performance on Friday.

“He [Perez] hasn’t got a good balance yet. Lance was much happier with the balance straight out, he was very happy, so it’s just a case of him dialling the car in to better suit his style.

“It’s definitely more about getting a general car balance, he’s not looking at it as the way he’s driving the car, it’s more the car is not quite where he needs it to be. He’ll get there.”

Stroll damaged the front of his car when he went off shortly before the end of FP1.

Racing was able to replace the new front suspension with another set, but Stroll – who finished both sessions 13th – had to run in FP2 with the old floor front and bargeboard set-up.

An unexpected upside was that the team was able to get an unplanned direct comparison between the two floor arrangements.

“We did a lot of our aero learning with the rake in the morning,” team boss Otmar Szafnauer told Autosport.

“We’ve got all that data. And we were able to do a back-to-back with Lance, so we’ll debrief him to see how the two packages feel, which we weren’t planning on doing.

“We got an accidental A to B. For tomorrow he’ll be back [to running the new package].”

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