Former Canadian Formula 1 driver Jacques Villeneuve has hit out at Sergio Perez’s defensive techniques against his team-mate that he used during Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, which took away the two drivers privilege to race each other.
During Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, when the Force India drivers were battling for position in the points, Perez squeezed Ocon against the wall on the run down to Eau Rouge, which saw the two come together – as Ocon ran into Perez’s rear-right tyre, as the Frenchman lost his front-wing, Perez got a rear-right puncture, and had to limp the majority of the seven kilometer-long Spa circuit.
Whilst the stewards took no further action on the incident, many key Formula 1 personnel and pundits have laid blame on Sergio Perez for “cutting off” his Formula 1 team-mate, and as a result, the two will no longer be allowed to race according to Otmar Szafnauer.
Their high-profile clash in Belgium wasn’t the first time that the pairing had collided whilst battling for position this season, the two came together at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, where the team were set for a podium at minimum, and potentially a first ever race victory for the team.
“I only saw what you saw [on TV], but it looked like Sergio squeezed Esteban into the wall and came out the loser of that scrap,” Szafnauer told Sky Sports.
“In the future they’ll never have that opportunity again. We’ve let them race up until now. If they can’t do it in a manner which is good for the team, then they won’t be racing anymore.
“They shouldn’t be coming together. We’ve given them the latitude to race and I’ve always said that.
“We’ve told them if it happens again, if a Baku-type incident happens again, then we’ll be calling the race from the pitwall in the future.
“If we stay fourth it will cost us nothing, but it’s definitely cost us points.”
Former F1 world champion Villeneuve, who isn’t afraid to slam drivers he is critical of — most notably, his countryman Lance Stroll — and has made it clear that he believes Sergio Perez “was to blame 100%” in his run-in with Ocon in Spa.
“It doesn’t matter that it’s his teammate,” Villeneuve said, talking to Motorsport.com.
“Teammate, no teammate, it should not have happened between two drivers. You’re not so supposed to put anyone in danger.
“You can brake too late, make a mistake, fine, but down the straight you don’t weave and squish, you just don’t do that. It’s ridiculous.
“A piece of carbon went outside of the track. You can hurt someone from the public. This has to be stopped.
“That kind of move from Perez is not racing, it’s pure blocking. You don’t do that. It’s aggressive. It’s dirty.”
Asked if Ocon was right to be angry following the incident, he replied: “Yes. Ocon didn’t lift to prove a point, I guess. It’s ego, it’s an internal battle to see who would be the strongest in the team. There is this ego thing going on.
“Ocon was very ballsy, especially in the first one. Wow. He kept in it. That was impressive.”