Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer is confident the team will enjoy a trouble-free weekend in Austria, at least as far as the relationship between its drivers is concerned.
Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez had a costly run-in in Baku which put the latter out of the race and disrupted somewhat the harmony between the two pink panthers which had already been put to the task after an on-track dispute in Canada.
But a stern talk with management ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix offered both drivers a reminder that the team’s interests come first and foremost.
“I don’t think we had trouble in Canada, it was nothing to do with the drivers,” he told Motorsport.com.
“But in Baku definitely, I just think Esteban needs a bit more experience.
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“He is young, he hasn’t done a lot of F1 races, and every time this kind of thing happens you learn.
“So he just needs to learn. It is that simple. [Former driver Nico] Hulkenberg has had 110 to 120 races, and Esteban less than 20.”
If anything, the rivalry between Ocon and Perez has forced the Mexican to raise his game, insists Szafnauer.
“He [Perez] is handling himself no differently to when he was here with Hulkenberg,” he said.
“He is a great racing car driver, and the more Esteban pushes him, the more he will raise his level. I think he will get stronger.
“Esteban is very professional, easy to get on with, and the relationship is good between them. We just have to make sure that they don’t run into each other, it is that simple.”
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