Brawn ‘regrets’ Force India rules on team-mates

Ross Brawn says some quarters in Formula 1 would be disappointed to miss out on a potential inter-team rivalry between Force India drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, but has paid credit the squad for an outstanding 2017.

After the Force India team-mates endured a second high-profile clash of the year during the Belgian Grand Prix, having come to blows during the Azerbaijan race, the team enforced rules of engagement to ensure the pair didn’t throw away any points for the team in the battle for the F1 world constructors’ championship.

As a result, when Perez closed up behind Ocon during last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix the Mexican driver was denied his opportunity to attack his team-mate by Force India in order to preserve its safe sixth and seventh finish at Suzuka.

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“The Ocon-Perez line-up is a potent combination and the intense level of competition between them is bringing out the best in both,” Brawn said in an F1 media release. “Also, it’s simply great fun watching the inevitable battle develop between them each weekend.

“The two team-mates found themselves racing one another again, but unlike previous recent occasions when this happened, the sparks didn’t fly: some might regret the excitement that had delivered, but I’m sure the team were glad of a quieter afternoon in Suzuka at least.”

With Force India holding an 81-point lead over Williams in the battle for fourth place in the F1 constructors’ championship, a feat the Silverstone-based squad achieved last year, Brawn has praised the team given its size and budget compared to its rivals.

“Suzuka was the 13th race of this campaign in which the team has seen both its drivers score points,” he said. “The Silverstone-based team is pretty much guaranteed fourth place in the constructors’ championship for a second consecutive season, which is an impressive achievement.

“I must congratulate them, because they have shown that good organisation and effective use of available resources can deliver impressive results.”

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