Toto Wolff has said that he was ‘bothered’ by the on-track clashes between his protégé Esteban Ocon and the Frenchman’s team-mate Sergio Perez during the 2017 Formula 1 season that resulted in damaged cars and lost results for both drivers.
The Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport watched as the two Sahara Force India F1 Team drivers had high profile clashes in both the Azerbaijan and Belgian Grand Prix, the latter causing the team to enforce team orders, while there was also a major disagreement between the drivers in the Canadian Grand Prix.
Wolff was disappointed that an intra-team rivalry saw damaged cars and ruined races, although he was short in blaming one driver over another, and he hopes both have learned their lesson heading into the 2018 campaign.
“What bothers us are these intra-team rivalries that end with two damaged cars,” said Wolff to Motorsport.com. “This applies not only to Esteban, but also to Checo [Perez].
“As a team boss, I’m so annoyed by that.”
Wolff said Ocon had a very impressive 2017, finishing eighth in the Drivers’ Championship standings, but now the pressure will be on the Frenchman to take it to the next level and out-perform his team-mate in 2018.
“Esteban performed very well this year against a very strong Sergio Perez,” said Wolff. “Next year he has to take the next step and improve this performance.
“He is incredibly consistent, makes few mistakes and has great speed. Next year, he will have to develop further in this respect and outperform Perez.”