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Force India hints team orders will be dropped for 2018

Written by  Jan 05, 2018

Force India has suggested team orders invoked during the second half of last season will be dropped for the start of 2018 with COO Otmar Szafnauer believing both drivers "know how to behave".

In the midst of their best year ever in Formula 1, finishing fourth in the Constructors' Championship with their highest points total, tensions between Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon threatened to derail their momentum on several occasions, with the pair colliding three times in Baku and twice in Belgium.

The latter led to action from team bosses with the two drivers unable to race each other until the end of the season even after reaching their goal of retaining P4 in the standings but now it seems they will be let off the leash once again.

"The drivers have got a better understanding and have matured enough so that they know and we know how to behave," Szafnauer told Autosport. "So next year it should be a lot better."

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What surprised the American, however, was the external response to their decision with many critical of both their initial lack of action during moments such as in Canada but then unhappy when one of the more interesting sub-stories of the season was quashed.

"At the time I thought we could lose out because the drivers were often coming together and we were losing out on points," he said, explaining the reasons for invoking team orders.

"In Baku, we lost something like 33 points and at that point, it was so early in the season that I didn't know or could predict we would be fourth.

"Now if you look back you could say we struck the balance at the right point as we let them race and then after Spa, we said 'let's not'."

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