Midway through the Zandvoort race, Tsunoda radioed that he had a feeling one of the wheels was not tightened properly, and he obviously stopped, unfastening his seat belts to retire.
However, the Japanese driver was ordered to continue racing and returned to the pits. There, he fitted another set of tires and the mechanics fastened his seat belts again before heading back out on the track.
But the apparent problems persisted and Yuki Tsunoda was now instructed to stop and finish the race. Later they discovered that the problem was related to the differential of the Japanese driver’s car.
The AlphaTauri stalled in one of the run-offs prompted a virtual safety car period, which allowed Max Verstappen to pit for fresh tires to help counter Mercedes’ one-stop strategy.
This led to a number of conspiracy theories and accusations directed at Red Bull and AlphaTauri , suggesting that Tsunoda ‘s retirement was part of a “dirty trick” to win the Dutch Grand Prix race.
“It’s funny that the fans are excited to always create those stories,” said the Japanese before the Italian Grand Prix in response to Motorsport.com on these theories.
“I noticed some strange things at the rear. At first I thought it was the tire and I was radioed to park the car in a safe place at the side of the track. So I stopped and almost switched off the car.
“But the team told me that they hadn’t found any setbacks. That’s why we went back to the race and fitted a new tire, but I clearly noticed again that there was a problem,” he continued. “I told the team there was definitely a problem. So that’s why they said to stop.”
“It’s very clear that there was a problem with the car, and now we can confirm that there was a problem with the differential.
“The situation was, of course, a bit confusing, but there is nothing to complain about to the team, to myself or especially to Red Bull, which to be honest has nothing to do with this story.
“Besides, I had the opportunity to score points, there is no reason to stop and help them.”
Asked if Formula 1 fans had reason to doubt a possible ‘dirty trick’, given the cases that have existed in the past, Tsunoda said he didn’t want to know, bluntly saying ‘hearsayers’ should get “an MRI” to check that there was nothing wrong with his brain.
“I don’t want to know and I don’t care,” said the Japanese in response to the fans’ cynicism.
“I want to really ask what their brain is like, scan them with an MRI and see what’s wrong. It’s funny how those stories get created.”
“Red Bull and AlphaTauri are completely different teams. Well, you know, it’s not quite like the other teams, but still, they are different.
“We are in Italy and they are in the UK. We work in completely different places,” he concluded.