The AlphaTauri Formula 1 team has issued a statement against “unacceptable, false and completely disrespectful accusations of foul play” following Yuki Tsunoda’s withdrawal from the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, which influenced the race.
The virtual safety car caused by the departure of AlphaTauri driver Tsunoda allowed Max Verstappen to consolidate his lead by minimizing the time loss of a pit stop that he would always have to make, although both Verstappen and team boss Christian Horner, later maintained that the timing of the VSC stoppage was not actually advantageous to Red Bull.
However, the sequence of events leading up to the VSC raised many eyebrows, with Tsunoda first stopping with what he thought was a loose wheel, then being told to rejoin the race, then dragging himself back to the pits while reporting Possible differential failure. and they finally sent him back, whereupon he reaffirmed his belief that there was a “broken differential” and was told to stop for good.
The FIA reprimanded Tsunoda for originally driving to the pits with his seatbelts not fully fastened, but has given no indication that he was concerned the race had been rigged in any way.
And AlphaTauri has now responded vehemently to such suggestions, while also highlighting “language and comments” directed not only at the team, but also at Red Bull’s chief strategy officer, Hannah Schmitz.
“Such hateful behavior cannot be tolerated, and admitting to allegations of foul play is unacceptable, untrue and completely disrespectful to Hannah and us,” the team said.
“We have always competed independently, fairly and with the highest levels of respect and sportsmanship.
– AlphaTauri team (@AlphaTauriF1) September 5, 2022
“Yuki had a glitch that the team didn’t catch right away, causing him to stop along the way.
“Suggesting anything different is insulting and categorically wrong.”
Although Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said during the race that VSC weather had “screwed” him and his team boss Toto Wolff later said he was “speechless” by how the Tsunoda situation had played out, Hamilton appeared to have retweeted a statement of support for Schmitz posted by the ‘Team LH’ Twitter account.
That tweet was later deleted by the account as “the statement issued ended up doing more harm than good.”
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