A reprimand for Tsunoda


Yuki Tsunoda has been given a reprimand for driving on track in an unsafe condition during today's Dutch Grand Prix.

Shortly after pitting, the Japanese driver stopped on track, telling his team over the radio that he believed one of his wheels had not been fitted correctly and was loose.

As he begun the process of getting out of his car, including unfastening his seatbelt, he was instructed to head back to the pits.

On arrival back at the pits, while members of his team fitted new tyres, others tightened his seatbelts before sending him out again.

However, moments later he was warned of an issue with the car and told to stop, a move which saw the deployment of the VSC.

The stewards subsequently investigated the incident and found that while after his pit stop Tsunoda stopped the car due to the fact that he felt a wheel being not properly fitted, the investigation by the stewards led to the conclusion, that in fact there was a problem with the differential. Therefore the car was not in an unsafe condition when released from its pit stop position.

However, during the hearing the Japanese driver admitted, that after stopping on track he was ready to abandon the car and started to loosen the safety belt, without unlocking it.

After that he travelled back to the pits where the mechanics re-fastened the belts. It is not possible, to determine exactly to which degree the seatbelt had been loosened by the driver.

Deeming that Tsunoda had driven the car in an unsafe condition - by loosening his belts - the AlphaTauri driver was given a reprimand.

"I got told by my engineer to stop but we didn't see any clear issue in the data," said Tsunoda, "that's why we drove back again to the pits to fit a new tyre. After that we saw a clear problem in the data, that's why we stopped."

The incident, along with Valtteri Bottas' subsequent retirement, turned the race on its head, and has led to claims on social media that AlphaTauri was seeking to aid its sister team with a full safety car or VSC in a bid to gift Max Verstappen a 'free' pit stop in his battle with Lewis Hamilton, a claim dismissed by Toto Wolff.

"If we were to fight for a championship that would be something I would closely look at," said the Mercedes boss. "Now I think what needs to be investigated for the safety of drivers and everybody out there is that the driver stopped, unbuckled, did a full lap, came in, the problem wasn't solved, they put the seatbelts back on and he drove out and stopped the car again.

"That probably could have changed the race that maybe we could have won, but in this sport 'maybe' is anyway irrelevant. For me, I'm not thinking about that anymore, it's gone."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Zandvoort here.

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Published: 04/09/2022
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