‘No change’ at Force India: Drivers still free to race despite costly Baku clash

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Force India has told its drivers they remain free to race each other despite their costly clash during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Team co-owner Vijay Mallya said the team had spoken to its drivers following the collision which led to Sergio Perez’s retirement from the race.

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in pictures
“Since Baku we’ve had some conversations internally and reminded our drivers that the team must always come first,” said Mallya. “It’s never acceptable for team mates to make contact with each other and it certainly cost us points in Baku.”

However Mallya added “the events of Azerbaijan won’t change our approach.”

“Our drivers can race freely and I’m sure they have learned some valuable lessons,” he said. “We’ve given them a competitive car and I know they are mature enough to work together for the good of the team.”

Perez and team mate Esteban Ocon tangled while running fourth and fifth in the race. The three drivers who were in front of them at the time all subsequently hit trouble. Ocon finished sixth after Perez’s retirement.

“We certainly played our part in a dramatic race and it’s still frustrating to ponder what might have been had things played out differently,” Mallya admitted.

Relations have been strained between Force India’s drivers since the Canadian Grand Prix, where Perez refused to consider requests from the team to let Ocon past him to attack a slower rival ahead.

Force India remain fourth in the championship but fifth-placed Williams closed on them at the last round. Mallya warned his team they have “no room for complacency” in the races ahead.

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    18 comments on “‘No change’ at Force India: Drivers still free to race despite costly Baku clash”

    1. I don’t think Perez will be going to bed with a clear head these days.

      He seemed to enjoy being the best “midfield” driver, waiting for Ferrari drive. However, with Ocon’s results steadily improving and also with Sainz being no slouch I think the results between now and the end of the season for Perez will have massive ramifications on how his career pans out.

      He knows that, and it seems to be showing.

      1. Why would Ferrari want Perez? He’s shown he will only obey team orders when it suits him.

        1. Agree completely.

          On paper, Perez might have the results to be considered a worthy #2 driver at Ferrari. But unfortunately, he does not fulfil the cardinal rule for a Ferrari #2 driver… and that is obey everything the teams asks of you.

          On a side note, I feel Perez is a really solid midfield driver, but I just don’t think he can mix it with the cream of the crop in a top team. He showed that at McLaren, and I’m pretty sure he’ll show it with another top tier team.

      2. Perez has never been a Maclaren material even less so a ferrari one. I don’t consider him an above average driver.

      3. So, now Perez has to worry about Sainz as well? A driver that crashes into everyone one race in and one not?!

        Be serious…

        1. They bring up Sainz. What a joke!!! The truth is Perez has shown he is a special talent. Perez could have won the last race if not for Ocon being an idiot.

    2. Hopefully, a battle for a position won’t lead to a clash again, but I doubt it.

    3. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
      3rd July 2017, 11:53

      So,they will crash in Austria as well :p

      1. They?

        There was only one crash and Ocon was the solely author of that incident!

    4. Sundar Srinivas Harish
      3rd July 2017, 14:11

      FI is sending the wrong message. I’m sure that they aren’t condoning teammate clashes, but they should issue a stern warning to both Ocon and Perez that they cannot play with the team’s points. Both of them are talented drivers with strong backers, and must not take advantage of a privateer team who are just sort of staying afloat while the constructors place their junior talent in them for mileage in F1.

    5. It’s actually great to see two drivers closely matched being allowed to race and to see them actually race.

      The top teams say theirs are allowed to but these guys actually do race – looking forward to seeing how it pans out for the rest of the year.

      1. We all want to see racers race, but Force India is quickly becoming a textbook example of why team orders get used. Maybe in Canada it wouldn’t have made a difference, RIC was too far ahead and VET was coming regardless, but FI had a realistic chance for a 1-2 in Baku, and instead wound up with a big repair bill.

        I’m not sure if this is FI letting them race for the good of the sport, or if the team simply doesn’t have the backbone to tell 2 highly-touted drivers to shut up and play the team game. Williams is a ways behind FI right now, but it’s still early and Stroll has been DNFing all over the place. If Stroll can keep driving like he deserves his seat and Massa can be a steady hand, Williams could be challenging FI for 4th at the end of the year, especially if FI keeps throwing away points.

        1. Ocon really blew a chance for FI to win a race in Baku. Shame on him.

    6. They can afford this decission and it is correct. They gain street credibility and no way anyone will take their 4th wcc spot.

    7. This seems like an awesome teammate rivalry. I thought Perez was being selfish and unnecessarily aggressive in Canada, but in Baku I thought it was sheer ruthlessness from Ocon to put him in the wall.

      Looking forward to seeing how it pans out between them.. but I’ll be supporting Ocon among these two.

      1. No Surprise there you dislike Perez with a passion. It’s not Perez fault Alonso joined SlowClaren.

    8. I see Ocon as predator whom would tired the victim ( the other drivers – wear tyres) the Perez could overtake Ocon and other driver as a lion kill the animal in the throat to obtain the position

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