Force India Formula 1 chief Vijay Mallya says that Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon remain free to race despite their on-track clash in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix eight days ago.

Perez and Ocon became embroiled in a team orders debate in Canada before clashing when fighting for a podium position in Baku, leaving both with damage.

In a race of attrition that saw Red Bull win and Williams hit the podium, the incident cost Force India a chance at a decent haul of points, with all parties left disappointed.

Mallya confirmed that Force India has held talks with both drivers regarding the incident in Baku, and that while they have been reminded of the importance of the team result, they remain free to race on-track.

"Since Baku we've had some conversations internally and reminded our drivers that the team must always come first," Mallya said.

"It's never acceptable for teammates to make contact with each other and it certainly cost us points in Baku.

"However, the events of Azerbaijan won't change our approach. Our drivers can race freely and I'm sure they have learned some valuable lessons.

"We've given them a competitive car and I know they are mature enough to work together for the good of the team."

Perez added: "I'm still feeling disappointed about the lost opportunity in Baku, but at the same time I'm feeling positive about the performance level we showed. We were fighting at the front and the car was working well.

"It's just a shame my race ended early because there was a great chance of finishing on the podium. I think we can be just as competitive in Austria and pick up some good points this weekend."

 

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