Force India drivers prep for a knuckle-rapping session

Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez will likely be summoned by Force India’s bosses for a strong lecture on the pair’s clash in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Both drivers have been an example of consistency this year, raking in points at almost every race. But harmony between Ocon and Perez was a bit disrupted in Canada over an issue involving team orders.

In yesterday’s race however, with a podium finish in the cards, the duo clashed on the exit of the tricky Turn 2, with Ocon hitting his team mate and almost putting both cars out of contention.

In the end, only Perez was forced to retire with a broken suspension while Ocon suffered a puncture and minor damage but recovered to finish sixth.

“The worst thing you can do is hit your teammate because it gives other teams opportunities that they really shouldn’t have had,” explained Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer.

“It is pretty tricky too because it is a street circuit, and anywhere else Checo would have been able to move over a bit and they would have been fine. But there is a wall there.

“We will definitely review it in a professional manner, talk to the drivers and say this is unacceptable. We cannot be running into each other.

“It is bad enough if you run into a competitor because that can damage your race, but not your teammate because that can take you both out. They understand that. They are intelligent guys.”

  • Perez left fuming after costly clash with Ocon

After reviewing the incident involving his drivers, Szafnauer concluded that both men should be held accountable for the outcome.

“I was looking at it. It is 50/50, 55/45, I have to review it some more. But Checo didn’t get the start he should have, Esteban got a better restart and then didn’t give him enough room.”

The Force India manager wasn’t so sure however that the team could have pulled off a win without the unfortunate incident, as Sergio Perez suggested.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I thought so [at the time], but I don’t think so now.

“[Sebastian] Vettel got his penalty due to that restart, so we would have beaten him. And [Daniel] Ricciardo we would have beaten him.

“But without us causing the red flag, Hamilton’s headrest wouldn’t have come up, so he would have won it. So, would have, could have, should have…we still would have been second or third.”

 

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