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Force India F1 keen to keep Perez, Ocon for 2018 despite clashes

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Force India is aiming to retain both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon for the 2018 Formula 1 season despite multiple on-track clashes as teammates this year.

Incidents between Perez and Ocon in Montreal, Baku and Budapest were not enough to prevent a fourth coming-together of the season during the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago, costing Force India a decent haul of points.

The team’s management looked dimly on the clash, introducing new rules of engagement for the following race at Monza in order to prevent its drivers racing against one another on-track.

However, Force India remains keen to keep both Perez and Ocon on its books for next season given it is currently heading towards matching its best-ever finish of fourth in the constructors’ championship.

“I think from our side we are fully committed to retaining them both, and that will be our objective. There’s no question of that,” Force India deputy chief Bob Fernley said.

“But, you know, driver markets are driver markets, and it’s quite right and proper that their managers, and in particular Checo’s manager, is out looking at other programs.

“He’s got to keep us on our toes. If he didn’t do that, he wouldn’t be doing his job, and we’ve got to make sure that we close that off and retain him for next year and keep the pairing.

“It’s a phenomenally exciting pairing. Might be difficult to control a little bit, but I’d like to have that problem.”

Pirelli reveals new super-hard, hyper-soft F1 tires in Abu Dhabi

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Pirelli has confirmed it will add two new tires to its range for the 2018 Formula 1 season, launching the ‘super-hard’ and ‘hyper-soft’ compounds in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Pirelli currently makes three of its five dry compounds available to teams for each race weekend, and despite varying selections across the course of the season has struggled to offer much in terms of strategy options, with one-stop races being the norm.

The hope is that the addition of two new tire compounds and a re-alignment of their durability will offer teams more choices in races.

Pirelli confirmed plans to introduce a new softest tire below the current ultra-soft earlier this month, inviting fans to pick a name.

The pink-colored compound will be known as the ‘hyper-soft’ from next year, with the arrival of a new ‘super-hard’ (colored ‘ice blue’) also being confirmed at a launch event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Compared to this year, when the tires grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola said.

“However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.

“We realized that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative: the tires we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

“However, the fundamental design concept of the tires hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint.

“The new range consists of faster tires that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

Besides the seven dry compounds made available, there will be the two rain tires – wet and intermediate – taking it to a total of nine for the 2018 season.