AlphaTauri has issued a statement regarding the social media conspiracy theories regarding Yuki Tsunoda’s stoppage during the Dutch Grand Prix.
After stopping out on track with a suspected loose wheel following a pit stop, Tsunoda was told to continue back to the pits after the team determined all four wheels were fitted properly.
When he got back to the pit box, mechanics were seen tightening his seatbelts as Tsunoda was ready to jump out of the car when he stopped on track. He was sent back out on track, but the team only spotted a terminal problem once he reached the pit exit and entered the track, eventually telling him to pull over for a second time.
Suggestions over whether the team intentionally sent Tsunoda back out to cause a Virtual Safety Car and benefit Max Verstappen in the sister Red Bull team was discussed on social media after the race.
Red Bull Head of Strategy Hannah Schmitz was also subject to online abuse, with the team calling the language directed at her “disheartening” and “completely disrespectful.”
The full statement can be read below:
Differential problem caused Tsunoda stoppage
In an official document the FIA stewards determined that a differential problem caused Tsunoda to eventually retire.
The Japanese driver was later given a reprimand for “driving in an unsafe manner” after he was found to have continued having loosened his safety belts after the initial stoppage.
This takes his driving-related reprimands to five in a season, which triggers an automatic 10-place grid drop for Monza.