When GP Racing first learned of Racing Point's plans to photograph its new car livery at an Austrian mountain lake location, our thoughts naturally turned to the film Fitzcarraldo, the plot of which revolves around a man's doomed attempt to physically haul a paddle-steamer over a steep and forested hill from one Peruvian river to another. In a case of life imitating art, stories abound of this troubled production: several extras died during filming, a labourer is claimed to have amputated his own foot with a chainsaw after being bitten by a poisonous snake, angry locals burned down the set, and director Werner Herzog later confessed to plotting to murder lead actor Klaus Kinski.
Similarly, Racing Point's journey has not been without pain since founder Eddie Jordan sold the outfit to a Russian steel magnate - the first of several eccentric owners - in 2004. Investment has been sporadic at best but the team has become rightly acclaimed for punching above its weight and, in the hybrid era, it rose to 'best of the rest' status behind the leading trio of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. The last owners' financial problems put paid to that; Lawrence Stroll's consortium rescued the assets and personnel but had to start again from zero points in the dying races of the 2018 season, and last year's car was a belt-and-braces job because lack of funds had strangled its early development.
This mountainous launch, besides serving as a visual metaphor for what the team hopes to achieve, represents a bolder, more confident start to what will be its last season as Racing Point before it rebrands as Aston Martin in 2021. Water company BWT replaces SportPesa as title sponsor and has pledged to drill a new well in Gambia (as part of a wider clean-water project there) every time the team finishes in the points.