Force India could relax team orders for Perez and Ocon

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Force India could consider relaxing its stringent team orders when the team's fourth place in the constructors' standings is secure.

Following a series of hectic on-track battles between Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, which culminated with a dangerous and costly contact between the two drivers at Spa, Force India changed its rules engagement and introduced team orders for the remainder of the season.

Ocon and Perez ran once again in close proximity to each other this weekend in Japan, with the Mexican being denied by the team an opportunity to attack his team mate at one point.

Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer said however that the status of its team orders could be reviewed and eventually changed.

"After fourth is secure, we will sit down with everybody and see if they can actually race again," said Szafnauer.

While the Force India manager hopes both drivers will hold up during their current period of probation, should they not, orders could remain active at the start of 2018.

"The team always comes first," said Szafnauer.

"If they can prove to us after this year that they can sensibly race together, then I am sure we will consider that.

"[Nico] Hulkenberg and Checo [Perez] sensibly raced together and they didn't crash into each other. If we had that scenario again, then there is no reason to always have team orders."

"They are both smart guys and hopefully the lessons will be learned very quickly and I think they have," he said.

"Our philosophy here is always to maximise the team potential, and we have to do what it takes to maximise the team potential.

"Usually, letting them race and go as fast as they can maximises the team potential.

"But when they start crashing into each other a lot, then it doesn't maximise the team potential, so we have to do something different in order to maximise the team potential.

"That is exactly what we have done. When we are happy to let them race, and we believe letting them race is better than holding them back, then that is when we will do it. But we are not there yet."

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