Force India on the new ‘responsibly’ rule

Date published: September 1 2017

Force India have told Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon that they can race, but must “do it responsibly” as it is also their reputations at stake.

The Force India team-mates clashed last Sunday at the Belgian Grand Prix with Ocon accusing Perez of trying to “kill” him as he squeezed him towards the wall on the run to Eau Rouge.

As expected their team bosses were unimpressed with their antics which meant the Silverstone-based team scored just two points instead of having both drivers inside the top-ten.

They have subsequently issued, as Vijay Mallya put it, “new team policy” with deputy team boss Bob Fernley saying the big word in that is “responsibly” as there is more than just points at stake.

“There are a number of situations in a race that you can’t control, for instance how do you control the start when there are cars going in all directions?” he told Autosport.

“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 pitwall.”

He added: “You’ve got to accept that we’ve got two great and very talented drivers, and both of them are obviously very focused and very determined.

“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 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.

“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.”

As for the much-talked about threat to ban either driver if there is another incident, Fernley downplayed that.

“Whatever we do from a team order point of view is obviously an internal matter, and wouldn’t be shared,” he said.

“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.”