Formula 1

Force India’s Bob Fernley: “It was a race of what ifs and what might have been”

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Bob Fernley - Sahara Force India F1 Team. Credit: Force India Formula One Team Limited

Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy team Principal Bob Fernley no doubt came away from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with his head in his hands, after drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon took each other out of contention for a podium.

The team-mates collided on the re-start following a safety car period when battling for second place, after Ocon attempted to pass Perez on the inside at Turn 2, leaving the Mexican very little room to go anywhere but into the side of the Frenchman.

The pair locked wheels, causing damage to both cars, but which resulted in the Mexican having to retire from the race. The Frenchman was luckier however, and was able to continue on, making a good recovery to take sixth by the chequered flag.

Fernley was obviously disappointed to lose out on what could have been Force India’s best result to date, but put the incident down to the nature of close street racing, rather than blaming either of his drivers for the disastrous incident.

“It was a race of what ifs and what might have been.

“We had a quick car today and had a good chance of finishing on the podium – perhaps with both cars.

“Sadly we lost out during a safety car restart, which led to Esteban and Sergio making contact on the exit of turn two. Both cars were damaged and it effectively ended Sergio’s afternoon.

“Esteban was able to stage an excellent recovery drive and was up in third place with just 13 laps to go.

“In the end the speed of the Ferrari’s and Mercedes proved too strong and he dropped to sixth, but it was important to pick up useful points.

“It was a shame to miss out on a podium from a race that saw so much drama, but that’s the nature of motor racing.”

Fernley did say however, that there would be internal talks to go over what happened this weekend in Azerbaijan, and perhaps there will be some ground rules put in place to ensure it does not happen again.

“We will discuss what happened internally and come back stronger in Austria in a couple of weeks’ time.”

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