Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer has warned team orders may have to be reintroduced after seeing Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon collide on the opening lap of the Singapore Grand Prix.
Ocon was forced to retire from the opening lap of the race after being punted into the wall by teammate Perez on the exit of Turn 3. Force India was forced to employ team orders mid-way through 2017 after the duo came to blows on several occasions throughout last season.
Reflecting on the events of lap one, Szafnauer told Sky Sports: “Well I mean it’s unacceptable for them to come together like that in an area there’s no run-off room. They’ve got to leave each other room. The team is more important than any one individual and we’ll have to go back to the rules we instilled on them last year.
“If that’s what they’re going to do we’re going to have to take control from here. Once they’re in the car it’s hard to control what they do but prior to that we can control them.
“It’s been over a year since it happened and it was in Baku last year that we installed the rules,” Szafnauer added. “It was after Spa if you remember, and from Spa until here it hasn’t happened so we are back to the old rules.
“We allowed them to race on lap one whereas in the past we didn’t allow them to race on lap one and now we can remove that. If they continue to do this, even on lap one, then there are other ways to separate them which we hope that we don’t ever have to employ.”
Perez was very apologetic for the incident and insisted he didn’t know Ocon was alongside him.
“It was a very unfortunate incident,” Perez said. “One of those that is very hard to avoid. As I’m picking up the power I just get a clip from one car. I didn’t even realise that it was Esteban and then as I get the message from the team I was very sorry for that.”