Lawrence Stroll, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Stroll “takes a much deeper interest” in team than Mallya – Szafnauer

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Racing Point CEO Otmar Szafnauer compares new team owner Lawrence Stroll’s management style with that of his predecessor Vijay Mallya.

What they say

Szafnauer was asked what had changed since Stroll purchase the team:

The significant difference is Lawrence takes a much deeper interest into what’s going on in the team. More of understanding of all aspects of what we’re doing.

Whereas Vijay took more of a hands-off, laissez-faire view of the team only from a big picture perspective. Vijay liked the racing very much so you saw him at all the races. But he used to spend, up until the last year or two, maybe four or five days in the factory a year. Where Lawrence will come two, three days a week.

So, say, in a month Lawrence can be there eight to 10 days, whereas Vijay would be there five days a year. So that’s a significant difference.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Great job by @Phylyp who won last weekend’s Caption Competition:

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2019

“Bono, my tyres are gone”
@Phylyp

Thanks to everyone who sent in captions last weekend and particularly Roth Man, JamieFranklinF1, Tommy C, Derek Edwards, JackySteeg and Jack whose entries were also very good.

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On this day in F1

Rene Arnoux, Renault, 1980
Rene Arnoux, Renault, 1980
  • 40 years ago today Rene Arnoux scored his first F1 victory, winning the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos for Renault ahead of Elio de Angelis (Lotus) and Alan Jones (Williams)

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 13 comments on “Stroll “takes a much deeper interest” in team than Mallya – Szafnauer”

    1. `Renault snapping up all the good drivers with Italian heritage before Ferrari notices !?

    2. I wonder how did Seb end up there, in an event featuring all current RB and AlphaTauri(formerly STR)-drivers, LOL?

      1. @jerejj Seb is himself a former AlphaTauri/STR driver, and I believe has maintained good friendships with his former team.

    3. Thank you for the caption, Keith. Although if I’m honest, I think the captions of the others you selected are funnier than mine.

      1. Consider it a Lifetime Achievement Award, @phylyp.
        Congrats!

    4. It seems like Vijay Mallya hands-off approach was working better than Lawrence Stroll hands-on approach…

      1. I’d imagine it really depends what kind of person is the leader. In case of vijay he probably knew very little about running the day to day business of f1 team so he put skillful people in charge and simply made sure they are busy and have what they need. If you have a good team you don’t need a strong micromanager at the top. On the other hand if the micromanager is really really good at his job or the leadership is otherwise lacking then a micromanager can make things better by being present and active all the time. As far as I know people like bernie ecclestone and ron dennis were more hands off and generally left their team alone to do their job. Then you had people like ken anderson who at usf1 wanted to review every design decision. Whether stroll has the skills to is to be proven very quickly. F1 is not the easiest place to learn how to manage a race team.

      2. @paeschli Too early to say because Lawrence Stroll is having to rebuild a team that Vijay left in significant financial peril.

        Weren’t able to develop the car for most of 2018 due to lack of funds from Vijay & started 2019 further behind with development than was ideal due to that.

        2020 & especially ’21 will be when we start to see many of the changes Lawrence Stroll has made come into effect, The best of which from the team will likely be an actual stable budget.

        1. I agree. From the reports I’ve read Lawrence & his friends have invested heavily in the team. I just can’t see him making a fortune from the fashion industry unless he was very good at managing people, so I think his approach will work at Racing Point too. There are some really tricky problems on the foreseeable horizon for Lawrence, so it will be interesting to see how he handles them.

        2. @roger-ayles, it is indeed true that the team was regularly facing significant financial pressure during Mallya’s years in charge – rumours of cash flow problems were pretty much an annual occurrence there, and suppliers seem to have threatened to sue the team for some time before things finally did go wrong.

          Whilst it is true that the budget for the team did rise in 2019 compared to 2018, most of the money that Stroll has been spending on the team has been about long term capital investment. Mallya kept the team going on a day to day basis, but there was no investment in the infrastructure of the team – whilst the managers did pretty impressive work with what they had, Mallya’s approach was causing problems as that lack of investment started hurting the team more and more.

          Right now, the team has to split its operations in a rather haphazard way – the aerodynamicists are in a separate building in Brackley, which is seven miles from the main factory, whilst the simulator and race operations teams are currently in a rented industrial unit down the road from the main factory.

          Most of Stroll’s money has gone on new temporary accommodation to try and bring those teams closer to the main factory, whilst at the same time buying additional land and developing plans for a new factory and design centre, including a new wind tunnel on site, that allows him to put the entire team together in one place. It’s also intended to increase their own in-house manufacturing capabilities, giving them additional flexibility for their designs.

          The design work has been going on for a little while, but the team only received planning permission to begin construction on those new facilities in November last year. Most of the difference isn’t going to come instantly, but given that facility should be coming on line by 2021, I agree that you’re going to start seeing those benefits coming in the next few years – there’s a big difference between a short term approach of simply throwing more staff and money at the problem, and the longer term capital investments that Stroll is making in the team that, once they’re made, are going to do a lot more for the team than Mallya did.

      3. @paeschli The 2019 car was compromised by there being no money in the tank during the vital part of the development phase (August is usually a key month for development, and most of it was taken up with sorting out the team transfer with administrators in control). 2020 has no such issues and will be a fairer test.

      4. Within days of taking over Force India, Bob Fernley left the team. As Bob was regarded as the glue that held the FI together, it doesn’t come as a great surprise that there have been problems with the new team.

    5. Where would the team be if VJ had not bought into it.

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