Jacques Villeneuve says that Sergio Perez’s aggressive driving style that led to his collision with team mate Esteban Ocon in the Belgian GP was “ridiculous”. It was the second time the two collided on the run to Eau Rouge, with the duo escaping the first contact without damage. The stewards decided not to take action after investigation the incident, but 1997 world champion Villeneuve told Autosport Perez “was to blame 100%”.
“It doesn’t matter that it’s his team-mate,” he said. “Team-mate, no team-mate, it should not have happened between two drivers. You’re not so supposed to put anyone in danger. You can brake too late, make a mistake, fine, but down the straight you don’t weave and squish, you just don’t do that. It’s ridiculous. A piece of carbon went outside of the track. You can hurt someone from the public. This has to be stopped. That kind of move from Perez is not racing, it’s pure blocking. You don’t do that. It’s aggressive. It’s dirty.”
Ocon however recovered and ninth, said Perez risked both their lives in their collision and tweeted that “Perez tried to kill me two times”. Perez responded by saying he was not at fault, and Ocon later shared a message to say he had accepted an apology from the Mexican.
When asked if Ocon was right to be angry, Villeneuve said: “Yes. Ocon didn’t lift to prove a point I guess. It’s ego, it’s an internal battle to see who would be the strongest in the team. There is this ego thing going on. Ocon was very ballsy, especially in the first one. Wow. He kept in it. That was impressive.”
Villeneuve was surprised the stewards did not to take any action against Perez.
“This is the most dangerous thing you can do in racing and they never penalise that in F1,” he said. “Sometimes, people crash into each other because they messed up their braking and they fighting. That should not be penalised but they penalise that because there was an accident. This was embarrassing. They don’t give a penalty for it, especially when the FIA is pushing so much the safety. Even a four-year-old could see it. It’s ridiculous.”
Force India has threatened to go as far as banning either driver if they collide again, and made it clear the team’s policy to let its drivers race freely would be changed.
Ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix team owner Vijay Mallya said: “We have made both drivers aware of the new team policy designed to prevent incidents like the ones in Spa from reoccurring. As a team, we have a responsibility to defend our position and I am sure we will finish the season without any further issues.”