2017 F1

Force India eyes race bans for Perez, Ocon

Force India is not ruling out imposing race bans on its drivers.

At Spa, weeks of tension between Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon spilled over as the pair collided twice during the Belgian grand prix.

“We have to look back to Baku where he put me in the wall,” said Perez.

“I’m not saying I did it because of that, but tension started back then.”

Frenchman Ocon was furious.

“He’s about to have a child but does he want to die?” he asked.

In a statement, team owner Vijay Mallya reacted by saying a standing ‘team order’ would now be applied, forbidding the pair from racing one another.

But sporting director Otmar Szafnauer takes it a step further, threatening the duo with race bans if the series of collisions does not stop.

When asked by Motorsport.com if Force India would go as far as benching one of the drivers, Szafnauer said: “Yes. If it happens again, we have to figure it out. We would have to start thinking about who we would stick in the car.”

“Yes, I am disappointed that they couldn’t sort it out – and that the team has to now play big brother,” he said. “That is disappointing. But the team comes first and that is what we have to do.”

“If we would have done that initially, maybe this wouldn’t have happened if we had rules of engagement. Szafnauer added

“So you can say that we lost out on some points. But there is always that balance between the show and allowing them to race and pushing each other, and artificially controlling it, which we don’t like to do.”

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