Racing Point warn drivers to avoid first-lap collision

2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll will be under orders to avoid any repeat of the first-lap collisions which have cost the team in recent seasons.

The pair will start today’s Hungarian Grand Prix from the second row of the grid. The team previously imposed orders on its drivers following a series of collisions between Perez and former team mate Esteban Ocon.

“We’ve got to be careful that on lap one we employ the same protocols that we had before,” said team principal Otmar Szafnauer. “They’ve got to give each other room.

“It’s the first lap, second lap that are critical. We have to make sure that they don’t come together in those laps so we’ll be talking to them and making sure that the team comes first and we don’t slip back into the ways of old.”

During 2017 and 2018, when the team was known as Force India, collisions between Perez and Ocon cost them dearly on several occasions. A first-lap collision between the pair at the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix put Ocon out of the race and led to the team imposing fresh orders on its drivers to steer clear of each other. Stroll replaced Ocon at the team last year.

The team’s strong qualifying performance has raised hopes a podium finish will be possible in today’s race, which Szafnauer is anxious not to squander.

“You’ve got to remember, this is a team sport and we want to score the most amount of points possible,” he said.

“I still think there will be a fight with others around us,” he added. “Ferrari have always gone well here, they’re just behind us on the grid, you don’t know what the start is going to be like. So let’s wait and see.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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6 comments on “Racing Point warn drivers to avoid first-lap collision”

  1. They have always been the rear gunners, now their job isn’t just to protect the undercut.

  2. I always think these orders are inviting trouble. Having played pro sport, as a younger slimmer version of myself, not attacking 100% all the time usually ends in a sub optimal performance

    1. @millionus That’s where the difference between motorsports and other sports comes into play. In other sports, players going 100% can also hurt the team, but there is the option for the team to do something about it. A basketball player going 3/14 can be benched for a different player, a F1 driver who is about to have a crash with his teammate cannot be switched out for a different one. At some point, the driver’s individual intellect has to come into play and reminding them of the fact that intrateam collisions is the worst sin in F1 is part of that.

    2. @millionus You could see it go wrong at Mercedes over and over. Apparently Wolff said there should be no contact instead of telling them to apply the rules fairly. So what you get then is the “He hit me!” or “I only drove into his real wheel to prove a point!” nonsense.

  3. I don’t think Stroll will have an angry reaction just like Ocon at Belgium 2017.

    1. Well if Perez puts Stroll into the wall like he did with Ocon, Stroll will be just as upset as Ocon was.

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