Racing Point Force India heads to Sochi with a racing ban between its two drivers again in place, after a nightmare event in Singapore – where Sergio Pérez put Esteban Ocon into the wall at Turn 3 and out of the race.
The incident – which team principal Otmar Szafnauer immediately deemed unacceptable – led to the squad reinstating its rules of engagement, which means the pair are not allowed to race each other until further notice.
And while Pérez apologised to all concerned straight after the race, Ocon said it wouldn’t be quickly forgotten…
… despite moving on from a series of clashes last year, with many critical of their absolute low-point in Belgium – where the pair made contact twice on the run to fearsome corner Eau Rouge.
AUDIO QUOTE (English) ALAN JONES,
1980 F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“Well, it was ridiculous simply because they didn’t use their bloody brains! I mean at the end of the day, trying to pass somebody going into Eau Rouge is stupid. Number two they were literally two or three seconds away from a DRS zone.”
The resultant racing ban lasted six events from Italy to Brazil – when fourth in the constructors’ standings was secured, and both drivers had learnt that taking out your teammate shouldn’t be done.
SOUNDBITE (English) ESTEBAN OCON,
F1 DRIVER, FORCE INDIA:
“Yeah, you know there was a bit of clashes last year, we don't want it to happen again, it's important we score good points for the team, we did a good end of the season together with him, we had good talks with the team together, so I don't think it will happen again and our target is that we do the best for the team.”
And it will be important for the team to take maximum points each round, with Force India seventh in the constructors’ – just two points up on Toro Rosso, and only 26 behind McLaren.
With six events to go, and Ocon out of a drive at the end of the season, it’s likely the racing ban will be in place to Abu Dhabi to ensure the peace remains as this explosive pairing sees out its current tenure.