Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Tsunoda given three-place penalty for impeding Bottas

2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Yuki Tsunoda has been given a three-place grid penalty for the Styrian Grand Prix for impeding Valtteri Bottas during the final stage of qualifying.

The AlphaTauri driver will therefore fall from eighth place on the grid to 11th. The stewards acknowledged his team failed to warn him that Bottas was closing Before he delayed the Mercedes at turn four.

“There’s just a little bit of a crest before turn four, it’s quite blind, and also honestly I didn’t hear from the radio,” Tsunoda explained. “At the point I saw him I was already in the braking zone.

“Once I tried to go inside to let him go, like I said, he was braking already. So I expect if I go now to the inside, I think he also tried to overtook from inside, so it’s going to be a big shunt. So the only way to go was only straight and let him go.”

Tsunoda said Bottas, who went on to finish qualifying in second place, was not significantly delayed by the incident.

“To be honest I saw the video and he was not close, I think, and I don’t think I’m ruining too much his lap time. But I don’t know, it depends on the stewards.”

In their judgement on the incident the stewards acknowledged the team had been at fault but said Tsunoda should have been aware of the car catching him.

“Car 22 [Tsunoda] had just completed a fast lap and had communication from the team that he was now on an in lap,” they noted. “The team did not warn car 22 of the approach of car 77 [Bottas] on a fast lap.

“Car 77 approached car 22 at the entry to turn four. Car 22 was on the racing line and while he attempted to move off the racing line to the outside he did impede car 77 unnecessarily.

“It is the responsibility of every driver to be aware of faster cars when they are on a slow lap. The team should have assisted the driver in being aware of the approaching faster car but such lack of communication is not an excuse for the driver.”

In addition to his penalty, Tsunoda was also given the second endorsement point on his superlicence.

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26 comments on “Tsunoda given three-place penalty for impeding Bottas”

  1. Yaay, Russel is in the points(minus s)! :-)

    1. NotAlexYoong
      27th June 2021, 8:58

      Yaay, it’s Russell with the ‘L’, not ‘Russel’

  2. Quite a penalty for a very minor infraction.
    There was no safe way to dissappear from the racing line.
    A hefty fine for the team looks logical. But the driver was at no fault here.

    1. Obviously the situations weren’t the same, but something similar happened to vettel here in 2018, same outcome.

  3. I also don’t like when a driver is penalised for not his fault. Why no-one said to Tsunoda about Bottas?! I don’t rule out this to be Red Bull Nr. 2 team’s strategy to help Red Bull Nr. 1 team in the Qualifying.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      26th June 2021, 17:09

      if drivers are on not on fast laps laps, they should be checking their mirrors more often even if not warned about a car behind them. tsunoda will have been able to see bottas coming long in advance had he actually checked. He certainly wasn’t blameless as you are implying. He was also on the racing line, which he didn’t need to be. To me this looked more obvious than some other drivers that got a penalty for impeding in qualifying in the past.

      1. Also, because team sport.

        Any other questions may be directed to driver of car #77.

      2. pastaman (@)
        26th June 2021, 19:43

        There’s no way he could have seen Bottas in time with his mirrors due to the speed difference and crest before the turn. I think you overestimate how much a F1 driver can see in their mirrors.

        1. That is why teams are obliged to keep their drivers informed, right @pastaman

          1. pastaman (@)
            26th June 2021, 23:05

            @bascb yes agreed this was definitely on the team for not informing him, and clearly an impediment to Bottas. I was only responding to the idea that this could be avoided if the drivers were “checking their mirrors more often”

    2. to help Red Bull Nr. 1 team in the Qualifying.

      you are confused with Toto who uses his contract drivers to obstruct others and denies them the option to race against mercedes.

  4. So, according to FIA, who has safety as number 1 priority, a potential life threatening manoeuvre, with all these mechanics around, and which was done on purpose as a “test” by a team and a driver, is the same as what Tsunoda did. Sounds about right.

    1. If your point is that Bottas’ penalty wasn’t harsh enough, fully agree.

      If not, well… the standard had been set for such blocking.

      1. @mxmxd Of course this is THE point, not MY point.

    2. Clearly I don’t think spinning was a likely outcome of a test. I mean pulling off in 2nd gear isn’t exactly crime of the century is it?

      1. @john-h You don’t? Well, BOT himself stated on his apology “We were slow in the past and we were trying something new“. It doesn’t matter what you think or believe, but facts.
        Regarding the sarcasm for “the crime of the century”, I’d like to read your opinion, should that uncontrollable car had cut some feet of the mechanics around. But hey, now that fortunately nothing tragic happened, it’s sooooo easy to joke for it.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          26th June 2021, 18:42

          While drivers have virtually always kept the car under control coming out their box, they still most of the time drift a little to the right and left while the mechanics are incredibly close to them allowing more space for them to get out. The risk is also strong there. Bottas lost control before he built up great speed. It didn’t even look to be sprinting pace. It was dangerous, but not dramatically more so than drivers normally coming out the pits. The thing that was more dangerous was that he was stationary in the fast lane (although even that has a limit which actually isn’t all that fast)

  5. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    26th June 2021, 17:17

    Kinda think this is a little unfair on Tsunoda, even if he had have been warned where Bottas caught him it wasn’t like he could just evaporate.

  6. So tsunoda still has to use the qually tires, while russell can still choose any set :)

    1. @cdfemke Yes. The Q2 rule gets nullified only when a driver starts from the pit lane through a Parc Ferme breach. In some cases, drivers got granted another same compound set if the one used in Q2 got damaged, but these are rare.

      1. true, but in this case i don’t think tsunoda wilt opt to start from pitlane. 11th with used C4 (soft) tires is still way better than starting all the way back

  7. Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting anything as the incident didn’t affect Bottas’ ultimate finishing position at all.

  8. This seems over the top.
    Admittedly I haven’t seen video of what Tsunoda did but was it as bad as jepordising lives in the pit straight?

  9. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    26th June 2021, 17:38

    Wasn’t Bottas complaining about getting screwed into a grid penalty.
    He did exactly the same to Tsunoda.

    In my view Tsunoda did the best possible with the given situation, no error and not even close to a grid penalty. Really bad decision of the stewards.

  10. Ridiculous. He was out of the way. Maybe a reprimand for the way he did it but he wasn’t on the racing line. This is starting to get silly.

  11. I saw the replay and it looked like he was as much out of the way as he could have been, and I don’t see how it impeded Bottas, more a case of catching him off guard and disturbing his concentration potentially, but slowing him down.. I dunno. An unfortunate situation for both but to say Tsunoda deserves a grid penalty for it feels harsh.

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