The recent Formula One GP in Zandvoort caused some controversy when Mercedes who had decided to do a one stop strategy were thwarted from the optimum race strategy by a Virtual Safety Car caused by Yuki Tsunoda. This gave Max Verstappen in effect a free pit stop which meant he retained track position ahead of the Mercedes duo preventing a chase from the Dutchman to hunt down Russell and Hamilton and overtake them to win the race.
The Hamfosi on social media immediately shouted “foul play” claiming the Red Bull junior team had instructed Tsunoda, their Japanese driver to somehow ‘fake’ his mechanical issue.
Yuki reported he felt as though one of the tyres on his car was not fitted properly and the team told him to stop on track. Alpha Tauri then checked the data from the pit stop and informed Tsunoda the tyres were in fact fitted properly.
Tsunoda was told to pit and the team fitted new tyres as a precaution and tightened up the Japanese drivers’ seatbelts which he had loosened thinking he was to retire from the race.
The car was then sent back out but Yuki immediately reported the problem was not solved thinking the differential was broken. He was told by the team to stop the cars immediately with caused a Virtual Safety Car.
Verstappen then pointed from the lead and retained his position given a pit stop under the VSC is around half the time lost when under green flag conditions.
The accusations that Tsunoda was part of some high level conspiracy to hand Verstappen the win went viral.
Even Toto Wolff commented that had this happened while they were in a close battle with Red bull for a championship, they would have expected the matter to be investigated further.
This fanned the conspiracy rants even more.
Yuki Tsunoda has responded this weekend to the claims he cheated.
“Well, it’s funny that fans [and Toto] are really excited to always create the story,”
“Straight away, I felt some strange things at the rear part, which I thought first was the tyre. I got radio from the team to stop the car in a safe place at the side of the track. So I just stopped, and I nearly switched off as well.
“But I got told again from the team that we didn’t find any issues. That’s why we restarted, we fitted a new tyre, but I felt clearly that there was an issue again.”
The team checked the car after pitting Yuki and sent him out again
“I said to the team that there’s definitely an issue. So that’s why they said to stop.”
“It’s just a super simple fact that there was an issue in the car, and we confirmed there was a differential issue.
“Of course, the situation made it of course a little bit confused, but there’s not any room to complain to the team, myself and also especially to Red Bull that it’s such a, to be honest, crazy, crazy story.
“And I was also running in opportunity, a good place to score points. So yeah, there’s not any reason to just help them.”
When asked about the kind of mentality that would believe such conspiracy theories about him cheating, Tsunoda was clear in his response.
“I want to actually ask how your brain looks like, scan the MRI and see what’s wrong. It’s funny how they create the story.
“Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri are completely different teams. Well, you know, it’s not as [completely different] as the other teams but still, it’s a different name.
“We’re in Italy, they’re in the UK. We perform in completely different fields.”
Clearly Toto Wolff is included in Yuki’s diagnosis given his behaviour and insinuations after the Zandvoort race as reported here by TJ13.
"I think he should be racing, I think he's far too talented" 💪
Wholesome stuff between Lewis and Danny Ric ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vE4t3ogcqs
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) September 8, 2022