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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.”

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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