Esteban Ocon’s disqualification from the United States Grand Prix came about because of a problem related to new software from engine supplier Mercedes, the team has revealed.
The Force India driver was stripped of eighth place in the race after he was found to have exceeded the maximum fuel flow limit during the first lap.
Team principal Otmar Szafnauer admitted they hadn’t realised the full implications of a software update on his Mercedes power unit.
“We breached, momentarily, the fuel flow limit,” said Szafnauer. “Which is a breach. Mercedes added some new code that we weren’t quite aware of that allowed the breach.”
Ocon’s disqualification was one of a series of setbacks for the team in recent races which has hurt their chances of beating McLaren to sixth place in the constructors championship.
“I don’t know how many points we lost there but again because we we’re thrown out the McLaren gained some points,” said Szafnauer. McLaren did not score any points in the race, but Force India lost the four points they would have scored.
Force India failed to score in Mexico as well after Ocon was involved in a first-lap collision and Sergio Perez retired when his brake pedal went long.
“It’s just unfortunate when you have a first lap incident that knocks your nose off and then we had a brake failure. So we got zero points which also allowed of the McLarens to get a significant amount of points because we weren’t there.
“But that’s racing. You know take the good with the bad and. The performance of the car is there it’s just that we’ve had a bit of bad luck.”
McLaren are 15 points ahead of Force India with two races left to go. Szafnauer said Force India’s chance of beating them is “Still possible but not as probable. Just because we’re running out of races.”
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