Force India should have given Ocon chance to attack Ricciardo – Szafnauer


Esteban Ocon should have been allowed ahead of Sergio Perez in Canada to attack Daniel Ricciardo for the podium - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Otmar Szafnauer believes his Sahara Force India F1 Team should have given Esteban Ocon the opportunity to attack Daniel Ricciardo for the final podium position during the Canadian Grand Prix rather than keep him behind team-mate Sergio Perez.

Perez had followed Ricciardo for a number of laps in fourth position but was unable to do anything about the Red Bull Racing driver, but Ocon had much fresher tyres and had joined the battle in fifth, only for the team deciding not to enforce team orders to switch them.

Both ultimately lost out to the recovering Sebastian Vettel to finish fifth and sixth, and Force India COO Szafnauer believes it would have been a better idea to at least give Ocon a chance to attack Ricciardo.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing because you have more information,” said Szafnauer to Motorsport.com. “What I would have done is perhaps swap them earlier – just after the Ferraris pitted. Do it then and it is easy.

“You can get your tyres back up to temperature and there is no risk from behind. Then, if it doesn’t happen, you still have time to swap back. We didn’t do that, we started discussing it a bit late and then after it was too late.”

Szafnauer admitted that there was a debate on the pit wall about making a potential switch between the drivers, but they were concerned the drivers would possibly lose some important tyre temperature if they were to do so.

“We contemplated swapping them to give them a go, but there are a lot of things that happen when you swap,” added Szafnauer. “You lose time when you swap, but more importantly, you lose tyre temperature – and tyre temperature is really critical.

“So if you do that, you are not back up to speed straight away. We had the Ferraris charging, so there are ifs, ands and buts. Looking at it, we will analyse it. But had we swapped them I don’t think Esteban would have got by him.”

  • John Skuja

    So how many times do we really need to rehash this old news. All teams make mistakes. Mercedes, Ferrari, Williams, Renault, everyone have made errors in tactics and so what. Drop it from the news feeds and let’s move on!!!

  • Salvu Borg

    the trouble they are still on about it (pushing it) is the hurt caused by number 5 managing to finishing fourth, according to Mercedes they should have used Perez as a buffer to number 5.

  • Formerly Known As

    You must be new to the sport. Vowles said that FI should have used Perez as a buffer to the benefit of his teammate because “It leaves Esteban trying to attack Ricciardo for that P3”. It made sense and Force India now agrees. Instead of one fighting for a podium both were passed easily while they were squabbling – a team’s worst nightmare.

    It’s hilarious how you think that SOME people are upset because Vettel made it back to 4th when it’s really the other way around – I know you guys are still upset that Vettel only came in fourth, thanks in part to Ferrari’s incompetence, especially when Ferrari has the faster package. Vettel was supposed to finish first or at least get on the podium.

    Go ahead, keep pretending that you are celebrating 4th place. Woohoo!