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No team orders at Force India

NEWS STORY
22/06/2017

Despite Sergio Perez' refusal to take team advice in Montreal and make way for teammate Esteban Ocon, Force India has opted not to change its policy on team orders.

In the final stages of the Canadian Grand Prix, as Perez and Ocon pursued third-placed Daniel Ricciardo, the Frenchman, on fresher rubber, asked to be allowed through in order that he might challenge the Australian.

Though never told outright to yield, Perez was consistently advised to allow his teammate through, assured that if Ocon failed in his mission he would hand the place back to the Mexican.

However, Perez refused to give way, and as the pair of Pink Panthers continued with their own scrap, Sebastian Vettel was able to take advantage and pass both cars to take fourth.

In the aftermath team co-owner Vijay Mallya was livid, warning that the team's stance on team orders would be reappraised.

Speaking in Baku ahead of this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, however, Perez insisted it was 'business as usual' with the team opting to allow its two drivers to continue to race.

"We had a couple of discussions, one after the race, one during the week," he told reporters. "The policy of the team is that if we are in the same situation they will do exactly the same thing, they will let us race again. No team orders.

"They felt there was no need to do team orders," he continued, referring to Montreal. "Thirteen laps of difference on tyres in Montreal is not a lot, as it is a very low degradation on that circuit. The team has all the information, so what they say is that if we are in the same situation again on a similar circuit they will do the same, and they feel they did the right thing."

The Mexican claims that having analysed the race and having looked at the various options, the team decided that it took the right approach in Canada.

"They basically say that they will let us race as they did in Canada," he said. "In Canada they told me to speed up to Ricciardo, and we were just having a normal conversation, there were never team orders. I think it is great for the sport, great for everyone, great for the fans, that the team let the drivers race."

Asked if he feared the events of Montreal will damage the team and cause a rift between he and his teammate, the Mexican said: "Everything is quite alright between us. We discussed after the race, we have adrenaline, two-thousand percent, so we probably say things that once everything was done, we can say we shouldn't have said that. So we just had a friendly chat and everything is alright.

"The atmosphere in the team is great," he added. "We are just looking forward to closing the gap to Red Bull. I think we are in a great position, really close to the Red Bull ahead, and it is great to have that challenge."

Speaking at today's FIA press conference, Ocon also insisted that there is no bitterness left over from Canada.

"We had a good discussion after the race," he said, "and I also called Sergio during the week when everyone was relaxed. We discussed our points and we are all good now. There is no tension between us."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Baku, here.

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