Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon will be free to race each other from the outset in Australia, as the Force India duo leaves its past behind.
A series of on-track incidents in 2017 undermined not only the team’s quest for points but also the friendly relationship between Perez and Ocon, to the point where the Silverstone-based outfit had no choice but to enforce strict rules of engagement between the two men.
An incident-free end to the season encouraged Force India’s management to lighten up those rules however, and now trust the pair to race without steeping on each other’s wheels.
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“We’re going to start off the season as we left it last year. If you remember the last few races they were allowed to compete against each other,” Otmar Szafnauer told Crash.net.
Force India’s Chief operating officer insists the competitive relationship between the two chargers was destined to reach a flash point, sooner or later.
“Like any relationship or partnership or even a team, they go through phases. One of the phases of team building is the conflict stage.
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“When you get past the conflict stage, then you work better together and I think that’s the stage they’re at now.
“They had to understand each other and get through that phase, which they’ve got through, and now we look forward to working together as a team and even stronger than before that conflict stage.”
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