Verstappen: Racing Point will never challenge Mercedes for title

2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen is not concerned Racing Point could become championship contenders after they qualified as the second fastest team in Hungary.

The team, which will become Aston Martin after this season, has been rumoured as a potential destination for Sebastian Vettel next year. Its RP20 is closely based on last year’s championship-winning Mercedes W10, so much so that Renault lodged a protest against the team following the Styrian Grand Prix.

In Hungary the RP20s have been consistently the second-fastest cars behind the two Mercedes. Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez have claimed the second row of the grid for today’s race.

However Verstappen does not see them as potential championship contenders. “No, they will never be in the title fight,” he said when asked by RaceFans. “Compared to Mercedes, no.”

“They are like a second behind Mercedes, so no. If you copy, you will always be behind.”

Verstappen will start today’s race from seventh on the grid. Asked whether he might be able to catch the Racing Point pair he said: “Well, last year Mercedes was also very fast. So it’s quite normal that you are fast.

“But they did a good job and we did a very bad job. So we just need to see what we can do. It’s going to be close I think.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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24 comments on “Verstappen: Racing Point will never challenge Mercedes for title”

  1. Verstappen: Racing Point will never challenge Mercedes for title

    I think he’s right I wonder who asked the question? I don’t think anyone will be challenging Merc this yr. If RP win the protest (I hope they don’t) they will be challenging for podiums though. At this point of the championship RP are the best of the rest and RB are part of the rest.

    1. I think he’s right I wonder who asked the question?

      he said when asked by RaceFans

    2. @johnrkh Indeed the questions seems rather dumb. Of course RP would never have expected to be going for the championship in a copied one year old design. On the other hand, at the moment RP looks more “in the championship race” than Red Bull is.

  2. max just gave out the main argument against customer cars. the same reason for banning year old pu’s.
    I wonder if Max is eyeing out Merc.

  3. Good artists copy, great artists steal. They certainly won’t win the championship this year but if they can understand the methodologies Mercedes have been employing and improve upon them (especially with the extra resource of Stroll investment + Aston Martin) then they have a good chance over the next couple of years.

    Sour grapes from Verstappen here, especially after his comments about Russell.

    1. He was asked a question, awnsered it and gave his reasoning.

      How is that sour grapes?

  4. Oh, I thought Max was in favour of not talking about other teams and focusing on yourself?

    1. He was asked a question about Racing Point, and he answered the question. He didn’t schedule a press conference out of the blue to give his opinion.

      1. Neither was Russell to be fair.

        1. Exactly, nothing wrong with what Max said, but the hypocrisy was what bothered me.

  5. I will quote from another article:
    ” Verstappen gave Russell’s comments short shrift: “I think first of all George doesn’t know anything about the team so I think it’s better he just focuses on his car and his performance instead of speaking for someone else.” “

    1. This would be the same Verstappen who called out Ferrari last year?

      1. And was right it seems.
        Being honest is not always acceptable by some.

  6. Yes, they won’t win, but they might beat the other two of the big three. If RP end the season in the top three then I think they will not care what people think about the finer points of imitation vs. originality. Points and prize money are so hard to come by for a mid field team, so beating RB or Ferrari or both is a massive gain. I hope they can stay in the development war this year.

    Hats off to the brilliant person who last year thought of this brazen but effective approach at RP. I only hope they have also been clever enough to avoid being hurt by the inevitable protests.

  7. Is he trying to be smart?
    I would say he failed miserably.

    Copying is always a part of F1.
    RBR copied lots of things, if he didn’t know…

    It is not always a dead end. Copying is just the start – if you are skillful and talented enough copying will teach you and you will be able to build upon this knowledge, improve and ultimately come out much better.

    Stupid copying (hello, Haas!) of course is a dead end, as they don’t have capabilities to understand the design – they will always stay behind.

    1. +1 … at least twice.

  8. Of course they won’t be challenging for the title and of course you’ll be behind the people your copying off (I assume that what he means), but they are on the 2nd row. They don’t care about trying to challenge for the title at this point, they care about beating everyone else by trying to copy a car that does.

  9. Max should really be careful when speaking as between two questions(regarding Russells statement and this Racefans one) he comes off as hypocrit.

  10. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    19th July 2020, 12:35

    Racing Point don’t need to challenge for wins or championships. Fighting for podiums and big points and collecting the money for doing so is more than good enough to turn a profit. With RP/AM rolling around in 3-4 and letting Mercedes skip off into the distance in 1-2, it stops any challenge from a rival. Mercedes essentially has a ‘wingteam’, now.

    Gives them a huge tactical advantage knowing they have two cars on track that will be largely compliant with them, that are fast enough to fight their competition but not quite fast enough to challenge them.

  11. I agree with MV but for another reason. The second gap between RP and the Mercedes used to be filled by Ferrari and Red Bull. So it’s not that RP have jumped closer to the front, it’s Ferrari and Red Bull that have both fallen back. RP have maximized their resources very well. Contrast with Ferrari. So they found a ‘loophole’ (being polite here) that boosted their engine for a season+. But they neither took good advantage of that boost for other reasons (team and driver performance) nor used that time to develop a contingency for when an inevitable happened and FIA banned their sensor bypass technology. And Red Bull, when was the last time they had anything really innovative? Maybe if they stopped focusing on (and trying to ban) what other teams are doing and came up with some new ideas themselves it would work better, right Max?

  12. You’ll also never win a championship by crashing on your way to the grid… I’m sorry Max!

    1. Well, actually you can, given the fact that 44 put his merc in the wall in brazil 2017. not a formation lap but a silly mistake too imho. All drivers make silly errors, every once in a while.

  13. I saw an article which says that because RP is currently using 2019 parts, they can update their parts to 2020 parts, without using any of their two tokens for 2021. They can then spend their two tokens during 2021 on other parts. Parts can be gearbox, suspension components, steering and breaking parts. McLaren will have to use its 2021 tokens to allow it to switch to Merc engines.
    So expect RP to be much stronger next year than this year.

  14. The point of copying the W10 wasn’t to win races– it was to give them a relatively inexpensive car that would perform better than their previous chassis which was essentially their 2014 model with years worth of evolution on it, and the team, from what I recall, felt that the old chassis had no further development possibilities.

    Since at the time, 2020 was going to be a one-off season prior to the 2021 regulation change(s), (t)Racing Point copied an existing, successful car, because the development cost was low, and the performance was (is) impressive.

    In theory, they’d have only had the car for one year, been reasonably competitive, and entered the 2021 era in a good position.

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