Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil have been warned not to repeat the first-lap collision they had in the Chinese Grand Prix.
Deputy team principal Bob Fernley said: “It’s not really what we need to be doing on the first lap.”
Di Resta clipped the back of his team mate’s car at the exit of the turn 14 hairpin and ran wide onto the grass, losing several places.
Fernley said his drivers should give each other more space: “I suspect that Adrian got catapulted off the curb, something like that happened so he didn’t give Paul enough room there.”
It’s not the first time Force India’s drivers have compromised each other at the start. In Abu Dhabi last year Di Resta collided with then-team mate Nico Hulkenberg at the first corner, putting the latter out of the race.
Sutil retired soon after but Di Resta recovered to finish seventh and give Force India their first points in Shanghai. Fernley said that without the contact they might have finished in front of fifth-place Jenson Button.
Di Resta said the collision meant he spent more time stuck in traffic. I was battling with Nico on the opening lap, but unfortunately there was some contact with Adrian down at the hairpin, which put me on the grass and set us back three or four places.”
“After that I was stuck in the pack, my tires were graining, and I couldn’t really make much progress. It wasn’t until the third stint that I was in some clean air and the pace of the car was very strong.”
Force India have previously taken steps to prevent on-track incidents. Di Resta was told not to overtake Sutil in the closing stages of the Australian Grand Prix.