Esteban Ocon, Force India, Singapore, 2018

Force India reinstates team orders on Ocon and Perez

2018 Singapore Grand Prix

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Force India has reimposed team orders on its drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez following their first-lap clash at the Singapore Grand Prix.

The pair made contact at the exit of turn three on the first lap which put Ocon’s car into the wall and out of the race.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer described the race as “extremely disappointing”.

“It’s unacceptable for team mates to hit each other and it has cost us dearly,” he said. “They didn’t leave each other enough room and the contact put Esteban into the wall.”

Ocon and Perez tangled on several occasions last year which led the team to forbid them from racing each other after the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix. The restriction was lifted this year, but Szafnauer confirmed it is being put back in place ahead of next week’s race in Russia.

“We will reinstate the rules of engagement we operated last year after similar incidents, which means they cannot race each other,” he confirmed.

Force India has fallen to seventh in the championship after losing all the points it scored before the summer break after it went into administration and had to return as a new entry. The team scored strongly in Belgium and Italy and looked on course for another points haul in Singapore after both drivers qualified in the top 10.

“This disastrous race is all the more frustrating when you consider the speed we showed in qualifying and the opportunity that has passed us by,” said Szafnauer.

“These painful lows are part of racing and it’s fair to say that there are very few positives to take from tonight apart from the car pace. We will have some discussions behind closed doors and will learn from what happened so that we can become stronger as a team.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 24 comments on “Force India reinstates team orders on Ocon and Perez”

    1. This is not my surprised face. Force India’s had to resort to this before, and there’s not much more it can do short of benching a driver (which may yet be an option if the hint isn’t taken).

    2. Ocon needs to learn he can’t win the race at the first corner, both need to be more accommodating of each other. All very silly.

    3. How it would have made a difference in this race though?

    4. How it would have made a difference in this race though?

    5. I don’t understand why Ocon is always trying to Bully Checo on track. I noticed he only does it to Perez. Perez never had issues with Hulk or Kobayashi. Ocon is like Checo’s Didier Pironi. Ocon is not helping his case of staying on the grid with those antics. Plus his height is also a problem when building the car.

      I guess he thinks he has nothing to lose so why not destroy Checo’s race to get ahead.

      1. This was a racing incident with a larger portion of the blame on Perez – there was a noticeable twitch towards Ocon’s car by Perez (Ant Davidson on Sky UK picked this up on slow-mo).

        You can’t accuse Ocon of ‘bullying’ Perez with the complete shocker of a move he made on Sirotkin, this was either 1. A poor mistake or 2. Petulant and deliberate ‘bullying’ of the young Russian.

        Either way Perez has cost the team points in Singapore and this was the worst race I have seen from him and a good example of why he will not move out of the mid-field.

        Ocon has the beating of Perez this year on pace and Perez is not happy about it, despite the points from Baku skewing the result in Perez’s favour. With the imposition of team-orders this plays into Ocon’s hand for the remaining races considering his superior one-lap pace.

      2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        18th September 2018, 10:57

        Absolutely ridiculous comment. It is Perez who has put him in the wall 3-4 times now, cried on radio ‘let us race mayn’ in Canada last year, ruining Ocon’s race and allowing Vettel through yet the very next race crying to be let through.

        Ocon is the better driver and Checo is running scared. Good thing is he will only ever be midfield whereas Toto Wolff has stated Ocon WILL drive a Mercedes sooner rather than later. Will be sweet to see Ocon lapping his brat of an ex teammate and sweet karma.

        Also driver height and weight will be most neutralised from next year with the new regs.

      3. Ocon “bullying” Perez? I think you’ll find, if you look at the footage, that in almost every incident it’s been the other way around! Perez has a temper, and it seems that he thinks it’s just fine to take other drivers out if he can’t get what he wants, just as he did later in the same race with Sirotkin. On the footage for both of these incidents you can clearly see him twitch his steering into the path of the other car. It shouldn’t be Ocon who’s in need of a seat, it should be Perez, as time and time again we see his temper ruining someone’s race, and costing his own team points. He is, at best, a competent midfield driver, but Ocon has the potential to be a winner, and *that’s* what’s rattling Perez, who has been consistently outqualified by his team-mate. He’s just as dangerous a driver as Grosjean was initially perceived to be, but unlike Grosjean, he hasn’t learned a thing or moderated his driving. There shouldn’t be any place in F1 for a driver like this, and he’s definitely more of a liability than an asset, except for the money he brings to his team via his sponsorship; and that’s another thing that makes my blood boil, talent eclipsed by cash.

    6. Hate to see Ocon go but he cannot play nice with Checo for some reason. I just don’t see Stroll Jr. Bulliyng Perez like Ocon has.

      1. I tend to agree. First because there will be no instance when stroll will be close to Perez, second d because if it happens, I guess Perez might be more polite towards the owner’s son

      2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        18th September 2018, 10:59

        TifosiLauda you’re the kind of person who claims someone who got punched was bullying the other guys fist with his face.

      3. Perez’s ‘bullying’ of Sirotkin was far worse! Ocon can only ‘bully’ Perez because he is now stretching his legs in performance over his team-mate.

      4. What a foolish comment. Perez has consistently been the author of most of these collisions. I suggest your review the incidents again before post such absolute nonsense. You can review the Sirotikin contact as well to see how reckless Perez is.

    7. Maybe the team order should be Sergio, stop crashing into people intentionally. It prefer it if they sai we don’t need his money anymore and we’re keeping Ocon.

      1. Ok let’s see, how many times have Ocon crash this year ? At least he was avoiding crashing with his team mate this year, he took bad choice risking all the team points trying to make a critical pass on his team mate.

        Sirotkin crash was a mistake out of frustration, bad team strategy robbing him an easy 7th place, and actually Ocon 8th if team was up to speed.

    8. I thought it was a bit ambitious of Ocon on the outside of that corner. But its a real shame they have to do this

    9. I could understand this approach better had the incident happened later in the race, but in this case, not really, since it happened on the very first lap. Racing incidents can more easily occur on the opening lap of a race than further into them.

    10. Well, I guess this confirms that both Perez and Ocon will be racing for the team for at least one more race.

    11. I’m not entirely sure team orders would have prevented what happened in Singapore. It’s still the start of the race and it’s as much a case of avoiding being hit as it is racing the guy ahead of you. Perez (seemingly) didn’t see Ocon, so he wasn’t consciously racing him. Order or no orders he was going to hit him. Now maybe Ocon wouldn’t have tried up the outside, but backing out of a move at that point could put you back into trouble with the cars behind you still being so congested.

      At least the orders will clear things up for them once things settle down further into future races.

    12. Team orders …. should be the de-facto baseline. In any team.
      Yes, there is the old stand-by “No ‘I’ in Team” but racing your team-mate is always going to be an issue with similarly skilled drivers. The consistency in the cars will guarantee that they will likely be in the same place at the same time.
      For Point Force India, they can’t afford to squander opportunities. Same for any team.
      The only advantage is that the teams immediately ahead of them in the points will stop griping for 2 weeks.

    13. What we saw last Sunday is a great example of how to spoil a very good qualification work.
      1) Ocon – There was no way he could have made it that way in that curve. I was a racing driver and, in curves like that at the staring of a race, your attention is on your left side and (obvious) the front of the car; you are taking care that no one passes you through the inside. Again, passing through the outside is not possible there, you will end on the wall if you try it.
      Remember of lap 18 on that same curve Verstappen and Vettel arrived head to head and, did Vettel tried the same Ocon tried?, of course not!, he knew he would end with no space because the race lane is way too close to the wall.

      2) The team – Holy Christ!, why they do not know how to make simple time additions so badly needed when you are managing a race? It was totally obvious that Perez was going to go out of the pit lane behind the both of the Williams that were around 1 second slower than him and everybody knew that Sirotkin had changed tires already son he was going to be a big stopper for Perez. As said, Perez was a lot faster than the two Williams and had a big advantage over the ones that were behind him. He could had been on the track for around 6 laps more and enter to pits without losing positions against slower drivers that had made their tire changing already.

      3) Perez – Frustrated or not, what he did when passing Sirotkin is a childish mistake; he said he wanted to close the door but it was too soon; yeah, we all saw that! Naïve mistake from a diver who has been in F1 enough for not to commit such a mistake like that.

    14. Ocon should get his revenge the next time both race.

    15. Ortmar trying not to criticise the money.

    16. What we saw last Sunday is a great example of how to spoil a very good qualification work.
      1) Ocon – There was no way he could have made it that way in that curve. I was a racing driver and, in curves like that at the staring of a race, your attention is on your left side and (obvious) the front of the car; you are taking care that no one passes you through the inside as it would be totally foolish that someone would try the outside of the track. Again, passing through the outside is not possible there, you will end on the wall if you try it regardless of who is ahead of you, Perez or whoever.
      Just remember lap 18 in that same curve Verstappen and Vettel arrived head to head and, did Vettel tried the same that Ocon tried?, of course not!, he knew he would end with no space because the race lane is way too close to the wall.

      2) The team – Holy Christ!, why they do not know how to make simple time additions so badly needed when you are managing a race? It was totally obvious that Perez was going to go out of the pit lane behind the both of the Williams that were around 1 second slower than him and everybody knew that Sirotkin had changed tires already so he was going to be a big stopper for Perez. As said, Perez was a lot faster than the two Williams and had a big advantage over the ones that were behind him. He could had been on the track for around 6 laps more and enter to pits without losing positions against slower drivers that had made their tire changing already.

      3) Perez – Frustrated or not, what he did when passing Sirotkin is a childish mistake; he said he wanted to close the door but it was too soon; yeah, we all saw that! Naïve mistake from a diver who has been in F1 enough for not to commit such a mistake like that.

      Force India has two capable drivers, the drivers they deserve no more, no less.

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