Szafnauer: We should have swapped them


COO Otmar Szafnauer has admitted that Force India made a mistake in not swapping its drivers during the Canadian Grand Prix.

In the latter stages of the race, as Sergio Perez shadowed third-placed Daniel Ricciardo, the Mexican himself was under pressure from his own teammate who was on fresher rubber.

While the Mexican called on his team to tell Ocon to ease off as her prepared to mount a challenge on Ricciardo, Ocon was asking for Perez to move aside so that he could benefit from his fresh rubber to challenge the Red Bull driver. This was relayed to Perez with the caveat that if unsuccessful Ocon would hand track position back to the Mexican.

Though advised to allow Ocon through, Perez was never actually ordered to move aside for the Frenchman, and as the pair continued their cat and mouse squabble both fell victim to Sebastian Vettel.

While the drivers claim there is no bad blood within the team, Vijay Mallya has warned that lessons will be learned.

Days after the event, COO Otmar Szafnauer has admitted that his team missed a trick in not swapping its drivers.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing because you have more information," he said, according to "What I would have done is perhaps swap them earlier, just after the Ferraris pitted.

"Do it then and it is easy," he continued. "You can get your tyres back up to temperature and there is no risk from behind. Then, if it doesn't happen, you still have time to swap back. We didn't do that, we started discussing it a bit late and then after it was too late.

"We contemplated swapping them to give them a go, but there are a lot of things that happen when you swap," he admitted. "You lose time when you swap, but more importantly, you lose tyre temperature, and tyre temperature is really critical.

"So if you do that, you are not back up to speed straight away. We had the Ferraris charging, so there are ifs, ands and buts. Looking at it we, will analyse it. But had we swapped them I don't think Esteban would have got by him."

Meanwhile, talking to the Mercedes site, the German team's strategy guru James Vowles reckons the Silverstone-based team should have pursued a totally different option.

"The team tried to invert the cars to give it the best chance of the podium but weren't successful in that action," he said. "However, the team should have then boxed Perez. If they had boxed Perez they would have come out ahead of Kimi just after he had stopped, and that would have then put them in the situation where they had removed the options for Ferrari (with Vettel).

"Ferrari now have a car that was on 60 laps tyres at the end of the race, a very compromised car. We saw Grosjean make it but it is not the fastest race, and if Vettel boxes he now comes out behind Perez, which is a complicated decision.

"It leaves Esteban trying to attack Ricciardo for that P3 and if he is not successful, Perez would have caught up again and allowed him the chance to overtake with much fresher tyres. That would have generated a good opportunity for Force India."


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Published: 18/06/2017
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