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No more racing: Force India reinstate orders between drivers after Singapore F1 GP clash
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Posted By: Editor   |  18 Sep 2018   |  1:32 pm GMT  |  84 comments

Following their remarkable results at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, Racing Point Force India now find themselves having to reapply team orders after their two drivers came to blows in Singapore.

The team’s quest to recover lost ground in the constructors’ championship was hampered when Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon collided on the first lap, sending the latter into the barrier and out of the race.

With both drivers starting in the top ten, Perez initially held seventh place in the opening couple of corners. However, with Ocon challenging around the outside of turn three, the front-right of Perez’s car came together with the front-left of Ocon’s car, which was enough to send the Frenchman into the barrier on the exit of the corner.

Ocon was visibly very frustrated with the incident, but Perez remained adamant that he didn’t see his team-mate when the pair collided.

“It was very unfortunate,” said Perez. “As I’m picking up the power in Turn 3 I just get a contact from another car, on my front tyre. I did not even realise at the time that it was Esteban.

“As I got it through the radio I was quite sorry for the team, because I thought we were on to a great day today, with a lot of points.”

Ocon remained diplomatic after the race and refused to comment on the incident other than saying Perez had apologised to him.

“He apologised to me, in the room he said he apologised,” Ocon told Motorsport.com. “But it’s not because of that that everything’s gone.

“The only thing I look at at the moment is that we come home with no points on a weekend where we should have been both in the points, getting strong results.

“We had the pace for it. And yeah, it’s a terrible situation to be where we are now.

“That’s all I can say, there’s nothing else to comment about. No, it’s not the same situation as last year, we’ve turned the page from there. And that’s it really.”

Szafnauer points finger at Perez, FI drivers not permitted to race each other

With the result costing Force India a chance of gaining more points in the constructors’ championship, team principal Otmar Szafnauer believed that Perez should’ve left more room for Ocon and confirmed that team orders will now be in place for the rest of the season.

“I didn’t remind them here, maybe I should have done, but they know it now, and again they’re not going to race any more if they can’t do it.

“There wasn’t any room, Checo should have given him room, and Checo had plenty of room.

“Esteban put himself in a position where if Checo moved over, he couldn’t do anything about it. But your teammate shouldn’t do that to you.

“If it’s another car, then you shouldn’t have put yourself there. But if it’s your teammate, you’ve got to have that respect.

“It’s just a matter of fact, it is what it is. And next race we’ll tell them the rules, and it won’t happen again, it’s that simple.”

Perez accepts drive-through penalty for Sirotkin collision

The Mexican driver’s day would only get more controversial after a mid-race tangle with Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin.

Whilst the Force India pair qualified in the top ten, they were hindered by having to run the hypersoft tyre in the opening stint of the race.

Perez’s pit stop put him behind Sirotkin, who was running much slower on the soft tyre, and allowed the midfield rivals on ultrasofts to stay out and gain track position.

With Perez stuck behind for several laps, he eventually made a move into turn sixteen. However, Sirotkin fought back into seventeen and still had part of his car alongside Perez.

Perez moved across and collided with the Williams, which damaged both cars and earned the Force India driver a drive-through penalty, which he accepted as a fair punishment.

“In the incident with Sirotkin I closed the line a bit earlier and I got a well-deserved penalty,” conceded Perez.

“It was hard racing, he was defending his position very hard, fighting very hard, moving a lot under braking and a lot of lock-ups under braking.

“And then as I was going through him, I tried to close the door but I think he was too close.”

With Perez running ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg – who went on to finish in tenth place – it can be assumed that the Force India would’ve been able to take at least a point from the Singapore Grand Prix.

However, their score-less race means that the gap between themselves and McLaren has increased to 26 points, following a seventh-place finish for the Woking team.

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

Do you think the Force India drivers should be allowed to race for the rest of the season? Do you think the punishments fit the crime? Leave your comments in the section below.

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1

Only real memory of perez will always be how he raced button.

2

“Esteban put himself in a position where if Checo moved over, he couldn’t do anything about it. But your teammate shouldn’t do that to you.

Untill I read thatcomment from Otmar S, I thought it was all on Perez. But the team are saying that any driver other that Ocon deserved to get put in the wall. So Ocon ( who I really like as a driver ) put himself in a dangerous position relying on his team mate to not do the natural racing thing.

3

Well it won’t be a problem next year as Lance ‘it’s my daddy’s team so I get all the upgrades’ Stroll won’t be anywhere near as fast as Perez.

4

they need all the points they can get now so it shouldn’t matter which driver finishes ahead now. ocon has already done the damage.

5

Onboard from Perez. He basically steered into Ocon.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qg3zRlWopLA

RPFI should sign Ocon to partner Stroll.

Perez can take his stuff to either Williams or Haas.

6

Esteban Ocon shouldn’t have gotten himself in that position in the first place. He was much too greedy.

7

“I tried to close the door but I think he was too close”

Understatement of the week!

8

Whilst a mostly decently driver Perez does seem to have had a few too many of these types of “accidents” over the year, mostly against team mates. If I were to base a choice on just talent, reliability and consistency I’d drop Perez and retain Ocon.

9

The incident between the two was a racing incident.

Initially it looked like Checo deliberately barged into Ocon – the repeated replays from a tight camera angle made it look a lot worse than it was because it showed it the latter problem Checo had at the hairpin namely struggling to put the power down exiting the hairpin which can be seen in the higher camera angle from start replays.

Teams orders is just a bit of a facade. Obviously FI aren’t going to admit that Checo is a bit of liability/too aggressive let alone voluntary drop him at the next race unless told to by the authorities. Checo holds a lot of cards in the team’s existence and survival.

10

I’m not sure that Perez does hold cards as good as Stroll’s. I think Stroll is free to sack him.

11

Incident with Ocon, I don’t know. I’m ok with calling it a first lap racing incident.

But the incident with Sirotkin should have been an instant black flag and a race ban. That was Schumacheresk.

12

My assessment as well.

13

And I agree. Perez blatantly swerved into Sirotkin. Just no other way to put it.

14

What is even more interesting is whether Perez has not road-raged himself out of the 2019 FI place!

When the whole little theatre with the administration and Lawrence on a white horse happened everything seemed fully arranged (Stroll to drive with Perez), even Ocon publicly complained about it. But the time passes and it seems less certain every week, Perez was supposed to announce his sit for 2019 in Singapore… and nothing.

Lawrence, I am certain, saw Perez as a sort of mentor / teacher figure for Stroll because of his experience and success, but maybe he realises that far from helping Stroll, Perez would rather push him into the wall if he feels threatened. That is not what Lawrence wants and the puny (in comparison) money Perez brings will not make him untouchable for Lawrence.

So maybe Ocon is still in the game for 2019 FI spot, maybe there are more options too.

15

Hope so… Sergio has been at FI forever. Esteban should be the guy going forward. Also, if Lance S measures up well against him, it will do wonders for his public perception.

So, I say “Perez out, Ocon in.” Hopefully, Toto is pushing for it….??

16

Surely Toto could propose an engine deal more beneficial than whatever sponsorship Perez brings to keep Ocon in FI.

17

I think it’s not as simple as that. While Perez didn’t cover himself with in glory in Singapore he is still a fine racer and there’s not much to choose between the 2. Another matter: Perez brings a lot of sponsorship – I would be tempted to say he’s the best “pay driver” ever!

18
Tornillo Amarillo

Yes I saw that also and I watched a F1 video from the last week where in the background Ocon find Lance and gestures and body language says it all: they are very close friends.

And Perez already hit Lance last year taking advantage of Lance’s rookie year.

Perez has achieved several podiums, now is time to go.

It’s better to have Ocon in the new Force and Russel in Williams.

19

Ofc they should be allowed to race each other. We have seen donkey parades enough already. The punishment?, well I think Per should have received a race ban for sure. Not because of the incident with Oco, but his action on Sir. Shame on FIA that they didn’t punish him as they should have and particular shame on Per. No sweet talk of him can hide the fact of what he did. It’s like Vet on Ham allover and if there is no real punishment for actions like these, we will see it again and again.

20

I quite like Perez, but the onboard of the incident with Ocon is very revealing ….

21

Yep. It is. I said I was ok with calling it a racing incident. But that was before I saw the onboard. I wonder what excuse the stewards have….

22

BTW, I realise the steering wheel can be all over the place when your struggling for grip, but steering to the right at the very moment your teammate comes alongside, that’s just too convenient. (plus we’re talking about Perez).

23

Checo should have been “stood down” for Sochi for sloppy driving – that’s the best way to deter any driver from driving recklessly. If Force India (or whatever they are called now) won’t do that, the International Federation should – they indeed did to Romain Grosjean back in 2012 for too many incidents, forcing him to miss Monza.

Some of the behaviour from the back markers while being lapped was lamentable in Singapore, and that’s another issue that needs sorting out ASAP.

24

Do the FIA need to take action against back markers?

I’m not sure on this one. Whilst I don’t think back markets should be allowed to hinder (Block) the progress of a leading driver I found it quite exciting watching Lewis trying to navigate what was an intense battle. It only added to the excitement and demanded a level of skill from Hamilton that would otherwise not have been an issue.

Obviously how you police blocking is a subjective issue but removing the blue flags in my opinion would make a huge difference in races where the leading pack are all separated by 4-5 seconds and unable to race closely together.

25

I believe I am correct in saying Checo banged tyres with Sirotkin. Not the tip of the front wing, nor the remainder of the front wing, but the tyres.

There is absolutely no way that was a misjudgement, especially from a decent F1 driver like Checo. That was a deliberate swipe, a la Vettel on Hamilton, Maldonado on Hamilton.

That should, at the very least, be a lot of points on his licence, especially in light of Checo’s first lap incident with Ocon, which was at best sloppy driving.

As for Grosjean, he is having a bad patch, but I still rate him over Magnussen, notwithstanding his good patch. However, I’m not convinced either will ever be top drawer- not consistent performers.

Finally, on whether FI should retain Perez or Ocon. I get the impression in reality there is little choice- given the recent litigation, I understood Perez was as a result guaranteed a slot. But more than that, look at the results. Perez’s run of podiums over his time at FI is impressive, and not to be ignored. Other than a difficult time at McLaren, over a year, he has largely performed. 2013 was an aberration

26

I don’t understand why Grosjean wasn’t penalised for that. He was the one that cheated by cutting the chicane and came back onto the track faster that the cars that had to negotiate the corner and he was who Checo was defending from. Also the above report says Checo’s rear right hit Ocon’s front left wheel when the photo below that paragraph says otherwise. Checo proved twice in one race that he doesn’t have enough spatial perception. Still, Grosjean shouldn’t have been in play on that corner. He should have backed out and this wouldn’t have happened.

27

What’s this ridiculous talk about old drivers taking seats from young drivers. there are more young drivers taking seats from other young drivers than the reverse. And they are mostly paydrivers. I dont know how Grosjean keep holding on to a seat? Alo I wont miss, if it wasnt’t for his drama Queen acts, but we’ll get his troll mode acts anyway so there we go

28

Sergio is earning himself a reputation there, it is becoming a ‘thing’ for him.

It is not a good look, and he needs to temper his attitude fast if he wants to be of interest of other teams.

29

Ok. Or just give the booth Perez

30

@ Editor….Can you explain further what exactly is meant by they are prohibited from racing each other? I’m not sure how to interpret this. Does this mean that the team set the rules before the race. Does this apply to quali which is part of the race. Do they say that once a time has been established by a designated driver that the other driver is not allowed to better it? Does it mean that whoever sets the best quali time that the other is not allowed to pass or even attempt to pass and that the driver who is running second must stay there at all times, irrespective of what transpires during the race? It would help if the writer could explain further just what is meant in actual terms of competitiveness.

31

I get it as a final warning for both of them, but mostly for Sergio. Be fair or be gone. As Force India has now their financial backing settled, mexican money isnt that much of a factor. Even if he was PROMISED a seat after the whole bankruptcy situation (Perez being the one starting it) F1 world rules can be bent with appropriate amount of money. All in all its a business, and Stroll Sr. holds the aces. With most of the field going with fresh blood for next seasons I dont see why we wouldnt see Perez out of RPFI and Ocon in his place..

32

no overtaking or defending from each other after the first corner. unless one’s nursing the car or under contrary.

33

@ Aveli….source?

34

Doesn’t affect qualifying, but during the race whoever qualifies behind isn’t allowed to pass the one in front unless the team makes the decision for them, in which case the driver in front isn’t supposed to defend the pass.

35

I wouldn’t be shocked by any team that insisted on this method of teammate overtaking at every race, whether they’d had previous problems or not. It’s a huge privilege to be allowed to race your teammate and put the entire team’s success at risk. Add the possibility of drivers not getting on well and you have a recipe for team suicide.

36

Hi Kenneth,

Force India will probably be discussing/finalising this in between the Singapore and Russian Grands Prix, but you’re right about certain situations being difficult to manage, such as the opening lap of a race if they qualify on the same row of the grid!

We assume most of the instructions will come as situations arise in the race, such as “can you move over for your team-mate please, he’s on a different strategy and faster at the moment”.

The question is, will either of them listen? Particularly as they’re very unlikely to be team-mates next season!

37

@ Editor…Thanks for the speedy response. Maybe a quick call to Otmar would be all the go.

38

“𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝘀, 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗲𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻? 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗰𝘂𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗹𝘆 𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆’𝗿𝗲 𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝘂𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺-𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗻𝗲𝘅𝘁 𝘀𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗼𝗻!”

Well if they don’t, a couple of black eyes – for each driver – should make them think twice! Shiners all round…………

I remember many years ago, I can’t exactly remember which race, but Fisi and Ralfie were team-mates and they ran into each other when driving for Jordan. At the time, EJ’s team manager was Gary Anderson, a broad shouldered 6 foot 3 inch 17 stone Ulsterman who used to play rugby. Suffice to say after Gary ordered them to his office “to have a little chat” to Fisi and Ralfie, they never ran into each other again………not unless they wanted to get their legs broken…………

39

When was Gary ever TM??

40
Tornillo Amarillo

Easy, if they qualify in the same row, still one of them has the upper spot and priority to turn first!

41

@ TA…I’m not aware that RPFI have published the details of how they intend to implement this decision.

42

Do I think the Racing Point pilots should continue racing, I would say yes because the only issue the Racing Point drivers have in my view is they have a hard time giving each other enough space at tracks that have close barriers and seeing as Sochi, is the only street circuit left on the calendar I would only enforce team orders at Sochi.

But to be fair, a new outfit especially one trying to collect as many points as possible after their previous points were wiped clean, the fans can understand why the team would take drastic measures.

So yes, team orders it is then and it will be interesting to see whether both drivers can take on Alonso in the constructor’s race

Overall, I would say the person that puts the team in difficult situations is Ocon because he has a habit of placing his car in tight positions hoping his teammate would wave him through such as Spa 2017.

43

He’s racing for position and so long as he’s legal then that’s how it should be.

44

Honestly I just don’t believe Checo didn’t know exactly where Ocon was. I can remember how aggressive he was when Button’s team mate, clashing wheels etc and he doesn’t seem to have changed one bit and its always someone else who is at fault.

Look at Canada with Massa, he clearly moved over on him but still wouldn’t accept he was in the wrong.

He is sometimes exceptional but these moments of ill judgement / madness make me doubt his ability to judge whats right and wrong with any clarity and is a danger to himself and other drivers when it happens.

45

‘its always someone else who is at fault’ Sounds like nearly every professional sportsman.

46

@ Editor….Am i reading this correctly. 3rd para. Perez says that his right REAR came in contact with Ocon’s left front, which sent Ocon into the wall. 5th para , Perez says that he got contact on his FRONT tyre, which he says he didn’t know it was was Ocon’s ? That seems to be contradictory. Maybe you’d like to give me an explanation as to why the description appears to be so, or, have i misinterpreted the context of your analysis.

47

Keep swinging that bat Kenneth👏🥇

48

You’re correct. Amended.

49

@ Editor…another speedy response. many thanks.

50

The stuff with Ocon was clumsy indeed although it could be argued that Ocon should have perhaps in hindsight backed out of a move one given the previous run ins between him and Perez.. Only make a move on your team mate if you either really trust them or a move orchestrated by team orders would be my advice . Ocon and Perez do clearly not really trust each other and haven’t done since Baku 2017.

However my opinion on the Sirokin-Perez clash is that was 100% the fault of Sergio and that the FIA doesn’t have the guts to show drivers the black flag anymore. I think the Vettel Baku 2017 10 second stop and go penalty was correct as the offence was at low speed behind the safety car . This incident was at racing speed and was far more dangerous and should have been a black flag when you consider the SV-LH incident behind the SC in Baku 2017. However calls for Checo to be ditched from F1 are premature . Ocon and Perez are both very good drivers and both deserve F1 seats and it’s a shame Esteban seems unlikely to get one

I still believe that Checo is overall a solid driver who has lets not forget been a podium finisher several times in his career.including Baku this year I am just saying what he did on Sunday against Sergey was stupid and deserved a punishment far more severe than what he got. I hope never to see that kind of stupid behaviour that he showed against Sirotkin from Sergio again as I expect better from him.

51

Yeah, racing speed dramatically changes the equation.

52

I disagree, they should of been both black flagged. Perez was more dangerous as it was at a higher speed, but both incidents were completely unacceptable. Now the FIA has set a precedence it is okay to drive alongside and hit another car in blind rage. You will only get a drive through penalty.

53

You differentiate the incidents, therefore justifying a variant in the respective penalties. PER should have been black flagged, no doubt, but after an extremely dangerous second move at more than 200mph at Baku received less than a slap on the wrist and the victim the same, well, we cannot expect anything punitive.

54

I don’t know if I accept the whole thing that Perez should have left Ocon room.

First driver you have to beat is your team mate. I’m OK with the moves these guys make on each other. I think they are about even now in their confrontations, right? Anyone have the full score since start of 2017?

By the way, how are they going to enforce Ocon not racing Perez? Ocon knows he’s out of the team next year, there is no incentive for him to not race Perez.

55

if ocon upsets the team like alonso did in 2007, he may ruine his chances of an f1 return.

56
Tornillo Amarillo

It looks like Ocon deal with Renault was as “on loan” basis from Mercedes…

That’s what I understood from Prost’s comments, Renault wanted a fully-committed driver to Renault (Ricciardo).

Is angry Toto talking all the facts?

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