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Mallya: Force India to use team orders after latest Perez-Ocon clash

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Force India Formula 1 chief Vijay Mallya has confirmed team orders will be used from now own following on-track clashes between drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Following previous incidents in Canada and Azerbaijan, Perez and Ocon collided on the opening lap of the race at Spa, the latter being squeezed into the wall en route to Eau Rouge but avoiding damage.

A near-repeat of the incident occurred later in the race, this time leaving both drivers with damage and costing the team a decent points haul, having run sixth and seventh.

The drivers blamed one another for the second clash after the race, with Ocon claiming that Perez “tried to kill me two times”.

Having warned that team orders may be required after the previous incidents, Mallya confirmed in a statement after the race that Force India would be revising the rules of engagement with its drivers immediately.

“I have been very happy with our overall performance during the 2017 season with both drivers scoring points for the team and racing freely,” Mallya said.

“However, as much as I support competitive racing, the repeated incidents between both our cars are now becoming very concerning.

“Under these circumstances, I have no choice but to implement a policy of team orders in the interest of safety and to protect the team’s position in the constructors’ championship.”

Chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer added: “It wasn’t the result we wanted and we left behind a lot of points after a collision between our drivers.

“This is what you get when you have two very competitive drivers who are fairly equal in performance in a decent car. It has happened to others in the past and it is happening to us now.

“However, we cannot afford to see this in the future, so we will ensure the team controls what happens on the track. We gave our drivers the chance to sort it out by themselves, but if they cannot do it, we will have to put some more rules in place and take the situation in our control.

“It’s disappointing to lose so many points when we had the pace to finish well with both cars. Until the clash we had looked very competitive: the pace of the car is something we hold as a positive because we head to another speed track, Monza, next week.”

Veach tops opening IndyCar practice at Pocono

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LONG POND, Pa – After a delay of 30 minutes due to track drying – overnight rains hit Pocono Raceway and the surrounding area – opening practice for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) got underway at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach topped the speed charts in that opening practice, with a fastest speed of 217.393 mph. Veach also posted the best no-tow speed at 214.233 mph.

Behind Veach, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was second with quick lap of 217.016 mph – Veach and Newgarden were also the only drivers above the 217 mark in the first practice.

Veach’s teammate Alexander Rossi was third. Sebastien Bourdais was fourth for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan, while A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan rounded out the top five.

The lone interruption in the session came with just over 10 minutes remaining, with a yellow for a track inspection to check for debris. However, the session itself saw no on-track incidents.

Of note: Conor Daly and Harding Racing experienced a mechanical problem that limited their running during the session. Daly was able to complete 15 timed laps, but only with a best lap of 206.012 mph.

Results are below. Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

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