Despite finishing the Canadian Grand Prix with both cars in the points, Force India acknowledges it has a growing problem with its drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.
Perez refused to allow Ocon past during the the Canadian Grand Prix, despite Ocon having fresher tyres and the faster car. The pit wall didn’t go as far as using team orders, but there was evident disagreement over the team radio.
Ultimately the stand-off between Perez and Ocon allowed Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to pass both drivers and claim fourth place. Perez finished in fifth and Ocon had to settle with sixth position. Ocon later complained that Perez had been too robust in his defence over the closing laps.
Perez denied ignoring instructions: “It was not a team order, but a discussion on the radio,” he said. “I told the team my arguments, and they accepted them.”
Even though it might have cost the team a chance of claiming a podium, deputy team principal Bob Fernley insisted the team had been right not to interfere.
“We have always allowed the drivers to race,” Fernley told Motorsport.com. “We should not have recriminations on that at the end of the day.
“You cannot complain when people make switches [using team orders] and say they want them to race, and when they race say you want it the other way around.
“Our policy has been let them race, and that is what we did.”
However, Fernley agreed that the policy might have to be changed in future to avoid any further embarrassment. “Maybe we have to review our positions on how we do things in the future,” he conceded.
“There are positives and negatives with with happened,” he added. “What it has done is highlight an issue we have, which is quite a compliment, that we have two incredibly quick drivers.
“What we have are two drivers who are absolutely at the top of their game. It is something we are now going to have to look at, about how we control that, to keep us on our toes.
“It is a nice problem to have. We should not let it take away from us what was still a fantastic result for the team.”
Team owner Vijay Mallya hinted that the team’s policy on team orders could be reconsidered.
“Our policy of no team orders continues. But I will specify guidelines to achieve best team result,” he said after the race.
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Gallery: All the pictures from Montreal
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