Wolff fuels Tsunoda conspiracy theory

The 2022 Formula One Dutch GP was bubbling up nicely as the Mercedes duo on a one stop strategy were about to inherit the lead from a two stopping Max Verstappen. The dutchman would have returned to the race a second or two behind George Russell in P3 with Hamilton leading. Then the Red Bull sister team driver, Yuki Tsunoda, had a strange sequence of events which immediately led to speculation Red Bull were fixing the race.

Having just pitted for fresh rubber Tsunoda returned to the circuit only to report over the radio, “Oh! tyres not fitted – tyres not fitted.”

Yuki’s engineer replied, “copy, slow down and stop on track in a safe place.”

Growing increasingly frantic the Japanese driver screamed at his engineer, “WHY, TYRES NOT FITTED???”



Tsunodo was told to “stop on track NOW,” which he did. Yuki asked again whether the tyres were fitted properly and received no response for what seemed like an age. Yuki then asked, “so retire then? Retire”

His engineer a few seconds later informed him “Go again, go again, Start, go again. Tyres are OK. Start go again.”

Tsunodo immediately reported, “there’s something wrong though.” 

He was told, “box, box, we change tyre” and Tsunoda replied, “you’ll have to fix the seat belt.”



Clearly during the wait for a response after stopping on track Tsunoda had loosened or released his seat belt.

The team fitted new tyres and ‘adjusted’ Tsunoda’s belt before sending him back out on track. Yet before he even reached full speed at the end of the pit lane, Tsunoda again reported, “Something wrong, something strange at the rear. Diff is broken I think.”

“Go out on track and stop stop. Stop in a safe place,” Yuki was told.

This message caused a furore on social media and was picked up by the TV pundits after the race. When read without context it sounds like Tsunoda is in the pits stationary and being told to return to the track and then stop.

Hamilton repeats Abu Dhabi failed strategy



However, the reality of his in car camera and pit radio reveals Tsunoda felt something strange almost before he reached the end of the other teams’ garages.

Other theories proposed were that Tsunoda should have stopped in the pit lane, but this would have caused a problem for Max Verstappen who was about to pit.

Toto Wolff fanned the flames of the conspiracy theory when asked by Sky F1’s anchor about the Alpha Tauri incident and whether it had ruined the team’s one stop strategy.

“Tsunoda stopping out on track then restarting, coming back, then seatbelts not on, starting the car up again and breaking down half a lap later….I….. I…. Speechless”. Wolff shrugs and rolls his eyes.



Simon Lazenby picks up on his inference and interjects, “yeah, well, I understand. There are a few conspiracy theorists out there.”

Wolff again fans the flames of the conspiracy by adding, “If we were fighting a championship, this would be something I would closely look at.”

Of course older F1 fans will have flashbacks to crash gate at the 2008 Singapore GP where Nelson Piquet Jnr deliberately crashed to create an advantage for his Renault team mate Fernando Alonso.

Yet the penalty the team suffered for this was severe.

Renault F1 was disqualified from Formula One though the punishment was suspended for two years. Team boss Flavio Briatore was banned from all F1 and FIA sanctioned events indefinitely and Pat Symonds the team’s technical officer was handed a 5 year ban from the sport.

Piquet: “Alonso is a trouble maker”



Given Red Bull’s lead in the constructors’ championship and Max Verstappen’s lead in the drivers’ title race, it is incomprehensible that Red Bull would have engineered this event for a mere win and a few more points.

Wolff’s sensationalist attitude is not unexpected given he makes spurious claims on a regular basis. One example this weekend was he claimed Lewis was up in Q3 when he had to slow for the yellow caused by Perez spinning and failed to complete his lap.

In fact Lewis was up in sector one of that lap and even admitted himself that the speed Verstappen had on the main straight would have meant he probably wouldn’t have been on pole even had he been able to complete his lap.

The Alpha Tauri incident was unusual, but mostly caused by poor communication and some incompetence.

Yes Yuki should not have taken off his seatbelt but the delay in his engineer responding to the question “retire?” probably precipitated Tsunoda’s actions.

Hamilton rift with Wolff exposed



The team changed the tyres as all teams do when a car returns to the pits. It’s standard procedure in case the car does continue back to the race.

Tsunoda was also being coached about blue flags as he rejoined the track and he struggled on trying to stay out of everyone’s way for quite some time before it was clear he had to stop the car.

Yuki was reprimanded by the stewards for driving with loosened seat belts and is likely to receive a 10 place grid drop at next weeks Italian GP.

This was the Japanese drivers’ 5th reprimand and a 10 place grid drop is automatic for 5 reprimands in a season, at least four of which must be for driving infringements.a fair shot, and the race planner said the win was on.

READ MORE: Mercedes hit back at Hamilton rage




5 responses to “Wolff fuels Tsunoda conspiracy theory

  1. Regardless of conspiracy theories, sending him out again despite already having car issues (& being out of contention for decent positions) was reckless & unreasonable at the very least.

  2. It’s quite a simple sequence of events.
    Tsunoda felt something was wrong after his pit stop. He asked the team, the words/phrase he used was his understanding of the translation.
    His man on the radio will have spoken to the guys actually changing wheels.
    That is where the gap in conversation came from.
    I’m absolutely amazed that people read more into this than their actually is.

  3. Max didn’t need any help to win this race! Pathetic Toto, now you know why Mercedes Benz F1 team is losing its remaining fans 😡

  4. Well if your gonna pull of crash gate in f1 , you need a big bank balance as a team to survive thr loss of points and championship results , a
    Sponsors ditching the teams, Then embarass ment for the title sponsor of the team , i dont think anyone who has the fincial balls big enough to risk getting caught would end them.

    Yuki is in a position where he pretty much has do what hes is told by the team or he will be released as hes not really showing much skill so far. Theres serious talent waiting for a chance in f1 with the superlicense points ready , but of course the expectation from the teams in a rookie year performance wise can be very much sink or swim.

    Does anyone reckon the fia delayed the financial certificates as red bull, honda, wining in japan plus the wdc decided is big media and they dont want it marred by costcapgate?

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