Force India’s Perez, Ocon’s war continues with two Spa clashes (VIDEO)


A pair of incidents between Sahara Force India teammates Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon occurred in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, the latest for the two drivers that had also clashed in Montreal and Baku earlier this year.

On the start of the race, Perez moved to the right without checking his mirrors on Ocon, when trying to pass his old Force India teammate and now Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg.

Perez told NBCSN’s Will Buxton post-race he was entirely at fault for that incident. The start of the race is linked below.

However it was the second incident between the two of them that was the more important clash.

On the run out of La Source into Eau Rouge, Perez moved from the outside to the inside in the natural racing line, but Ocon saw a gap and went for it to Perez’s outside ahead of Eau Rouge.

That nearly put Ocon directly into the barrier and saw a collision between the two where Ocon’s left front wing end plate was sheared off and pierced Perez’s right rear tire, causing a puncture.

Both drivers spoke to NBCSN’s Buxton in the media bullpen. Here’s their comments:

Perez: “The first one was totally my fault. I didn’t select the start mode so didn’t have all the power on straight. Good start, then battling Hulkenberg, but I only had 50 percent of the power. So I thought I had a good margin and moved to right without looking at mirrors. 100 percent my fault. Really apologize for that one.

“The second one was a bit too optimistic for him to go there and make that maneuver. Both of us misjudged it a bit and ruined the race for the team. In the end I had massive damage and my car was too difficult to drive.

“(On the second incident), I saw him, he was there, but many drivers protect the line – that’s what I did. There was no room for him to go anywhere. We touched.

“I think today was a very ‘particular’ race. We definitely have to rewatch the incident. Mainly the second one, because the first one was totally my fault. It was not my best race. Otherwise not much to say.”

Ocon: “Well the first one I accepted. It’s start. It’s three-wide. Even if he saw me. The second one was way too much.

“Yeah. That’s just how not professional he is recently. I’ll speak to him. He thinks I’m a rookie and will stay behind. We risked our own lives for no reason.

“For sure not. It’s clear he didn’t leave me the space. It’s 300 kph… but put me into the wall. It’s clear to me. It’s clear to everyone else.

“He took a five-second penalty for the overall race and how aggressive he was. I will go man to man to see him and tell him the truth. I’m not going to be scared of him.

“It’s over out of the car, that’s for sure. In the car we race for Force India and we have to be professional drivers.”

Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer told Sky Sports in-race that after these two collisions, team orders are likely to be enforced going forward unless exceptional circumstances allow: “In the future they will never have that opportunity again.”

While both drivers sit seventh and eighth in points and the team is fourth in the Constructor’s Championship, this was not a good day for the team.

Ocon wound up finishing ninth, scoring two points, while Perez retired late with car damage.

Further videos will come shortly.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change