Wolff "bothered" by Ocon/Perez clashes at Force India

Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff says he was “bothered” by clashes between junior driver Esteban Ocon and his Force India teammate Sergio Perez in 2017.

Wolff "bothered" by Ocon/Perez clashes at Force India
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Director of Motorsport
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India VJM10, Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India VJM10
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India VJM10, Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India VJM10
Esteban Ocon, Force India, Sergio Perez, Force India
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India VJM10, Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India VJM10 and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H battle
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10, Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10

Ocon joined Force India last season to partner Perez, with the two going on to clash on-track in Azerbaijan and Hungary – as well as disagreeing over their Canada battle - in their first campaign as teammates.

The pair then collided with each other twice in the Belgian Grand Prix, leading Force India to impose team orders on its drivers.

Ocon had approached Wolff for advice in dealing with Perez during their battles, but Wolff told Motorsport.com that, as a team boss, he was irritated by their clashes during 2017.

“What bothers us are these intra-team rivalries that end with two damaged cars,” said Wolff.

“This applies not only to Esteban, but also to Checo [Perez]. As a team boss, I'm so annoyed by that."

Ocon ended the season in eighth place in the drivers’ standings, one place and 13 points behind Perez in seventh.

Wolff says that Ocon must beat Perez in 2018 in order to continue his development.

“Esteban performed very well this year against a very strong Sergio Perez,” said Wolff.

“Next year he has to take the next step and improve this performance. He is incredibly consistent, makes few mistakes and has great speed.

“Next year, he will have to develop further in this respect and outperform Perez.”

Perez has warned Force India against repeating its team orders in 2018, as he expects McLaren and Renault to be sterner opposition next year.

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