F1 must avoid Indy ’05 repeat – Whitmarsh

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McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says action must be taken to prevent a repeat of the multiple tire failures which blighted yesterday’s British Grand Prix.

Time is short for Formula One to take action after yesterday’s dramatic race in which four drivers suffered sudden left-rear tire failures.

Whitmarsh said teams could boycott this weekend’s German Grand Prix if a solution is not found, leading to a repeat of the circumstances of the 2005 United States Grand Prix. Only six cars started that race after fourteen runners on Michelin were forced to withdraw over safety concerns.

“What’s not what we want for Formula One,” Whitmarsh told Sky. “We have faced some of these issues before at Indianapolis and that was terrible for the sport so we have really got to work together.”

“This is not a time to point fingers, it’s time to work together, find a solution and get on with it.”

Whitmarsh expects the sport will take action in time for this weekend’s race, the first session of which takes place on Friday:

“I think something will have changed by Germany. I’m not considering [withdrawing] at the moment, it’s something all the teams and drivers will have to take a view on, but we have to support Pirelli and make sure we give them all the information and enough time to make the right decisions.”

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

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Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.