The first racing session at Imola was marred by technical issues which impacted both TV coverage and radio and data communications between the cars and their engineers on the pit wall.
The incident occurred at Turn 5, 36 minutes into the session, with Alpine rider Ocon doing a slow lap and trying to pull away to let Perez’s rapidly approaching Red Bull pass him.
However, due to a misunderstanding exacerbated by the lack of radio communications that prevented crews from informing drivers of potential traffic problems, both cars came into contact with Perez’s left rear touching the right front d ‘Ocon.
Perez came to a stop on exiting turn 6 with obvious damage to his left rear wheel, while Ocon was forced off the track and parked after the turn. The two cars being out of action, the session was immediately marked red.
The technical issues meant that no clear TV coverage was available of the incident and no on-board footage was shown, so immediately afterwards it wasn’t entirely clear what was happening. had passed.
Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521, gets out of his car after stopping
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
The two pilots were summoned to the stewards half an hour after the session, where they agreed that neither was at fault. The stewards decided to do nothing more.
In the record of their decision, the stewards said: “Ocon slowed down before turn 5 to let Perez pass, while moving all the way to the inside of the turn. Perez was on a quick turn. Both cars reached the top at the same time and barely touched the wheels.
“In the end, both pilots agreed during the hearing that it was an unfortunate timing issue between them, not helped by the fact that the two pilots had had little or no communication with their teams at the time.
“Both drivers agreed that neither was at fault. The stewards therefore take no further action. “