Szafnauer confident Stroll can now race among top-10

Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer believes the performance of the team’s 2020 car will allow Lance Stroll to improve his skills and compete among the top-10 on a regular basis.

After serving his apprenticeship in F1 with Williams for two seasons, the young Canadian logically moved for 2019 to the team taken over by his father, billionaire Lawrence Stroll.

While Sergio Perez consistently made the most of Racing Point’s RP19, outperforming his teammate throughout the year, it was Stroll who delivered to the pink outfit its best result thanks to a P4 finish at Hockenheim.

Neverthess, Stroll revealed a specific weakness in qualifying versus Perez, a shortfall that often complicated his task on Sundays.

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Szafnauer believes the strength of Racing Point’s RP20, as displayed in pre-season testing, should allow Stroll to move up the grid, from where the Canadian will be able to mix it with the top midfield contenders.

“If you’re fast in Barcelona, you’ll be fast pretty much everywhere,” said Szafnauer.

“If we give Lance a good car, he can improve his driving skills and be even better.

“It does look like we have built a good car this year, and I think it will be easier for us in qualifying this season. If Lance is better placed on the grid, he will fight more often in the top 10.

“When he is in the top ten, he has shown that he can do good races. When you’re so far down the grid, it’s easier to get stuck and have problems.

“But I don’t think Lance will have these problems this season or the next, when we will have essentially the same car.”