Force India duo encouraged to race each other "responsibly"

The Force India F1 team says that Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon have been told that they have to race "responsibly" from now on – and is confident that the message has got through.

Force India duo encouraged to race each other "responsibly"
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India and Dida
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India VJM10
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1, Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
 Press conference: Esteban Ocon, Force India, Sergio Perez, Force India
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India and Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 cycle the track
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India VJM10, rear puncture damage
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10, Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India and Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 cycle the track

The pair made contact twice in the Belgian GP, costing the Silverstone team valuable points, having already been involved in other incidents this season.

Neither deputy team principal Bob Fernley nor team boss Vijay Mallya were at Spa, but they have made their thoughts clear to the two drivers in the past few days.

"You've got to accept that we've got two great and very talented drivers, and both of them are obviously very focussed and very determined," Fernley told Motorsport.com.

"That's exactly what we want, and we don't want to in any way dilute that. The chats that we've had haven't worked, they've obviously had to be a little bit stronger. Vijay for sure has intervened a bit over the last week, and I think it's behind us now.

"From a team point of view we've got to make sure fourth place is secured, it's very important for the team. And from their point of view they need to make sure they keep their reputations intact, because there's a future for them beyond Force India, for both of them."

Fernley insists that the drivers are still allowed to race, but they have to me more respectful of each other and the team's position.

"We don't want to prevent that. There are a number of situations in a race that you can't control, for instance the start – how do you control the start when there are cars going in all directions?

"So the answer is we want to encourage them to race, but we want them to do it responsibly. And that is where the focus is within the team, and the team can monitor that from the pit wall."

Asked what has changed since the post-Baku clash conversations, he said: "I think what's changed is the realisation from the two drivers that it's not acceptable. Obviously you've got a well established driver, and a young charger coming through.

"There's going to be a certain amount of elbows out in that process, which is where we were up to Baku.

"What happened in Spa was different, and I think they both realise that they made mistakes, the two of them. They're intelligent guys, and they've sorted it out amongst themselves, and realised it's not going to help their careers.

"They know themselves, they've gone through the footage, they've sat down and looked at it with the team. They realise that there was an error of judgement on both their parts on a couple of occasions, and they'll grow up and deal with it."

Fernley denied that the drivers had been threatened with sanctions, such as a race ban.

"The first thing is that whatever we do from a team order point of view is obviously an internal matter, and wouldn't be shared. We'll deal with what we need to deal with as and when, but I don't think there will need to be anything as Draconian as that.

"All of the top teams have the same problem at some point, all get resolved, and all move on. It's part of the growing process. From our point of view it's a nice problem to have, it shows we're pushing that front end. It's up to us to deal with it as a team."

 

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