Tsunoda “worried” ahead of discussions with Red Bull over Verstappen incident

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Yuki Tsunoda says he doesn’t know what else he could have done to avoid holding up the Red Bull drivers after Christian Horner said he spoiled their final laps in qualifying.

The Red Bull team principal blamed Tsunoda after Mercedes beat both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in Q3.

Tsunoda was on an in-lap when he was caught by the Red Bull drivers at turn 11 at the end of Q3. The AlphaTauri driver ran wide to let Perez by but the Red Bull driver went off with him, which led to Verstappen abandoning his lap as the

However, Tsunoda said he didn’t believe that the incident was as a result of him doing anything wrong. “I didn’t mess up Red Bull, they just did a mistake by themselves,” the rookie said.

Speaking immediately after qualifying Tsunoda was unsure what the consequences of the incident had been, asking: “I don’t know about Max, did I fuck up Max as well?”

Tsunoda was told by his team to let Perez past shortly before the two Red Bulls caught him. “I went outside and I couldn’t really do more than that. I don’t know where I should go then.”

He confirmed that his engineer Mattia Spini had been keeping him informed about track position but didn’t believe there was anything further he could have done to get out of the Red Bull drivers’ way.

“I had a countdown [when] I was in sector two,” said Tsunoda. “But if I had another chance I’d do the same thing, I don’t know what else I should do.”

AlphaTauri is one of two teams owned by Red Bull and Tsunoda joined F1 through the Red Bull Junior Team. He admitted he is concerned about the ramifications of the incident.

“I’m worried now because I have to discuss with Red Bull,” he said. “But I [didn’t do] anything wrong.”

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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33 comments on “Tsunoda “worried” ahead of discussions with Red Bull over Verstappen incident”

  1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    6th November 2021, 23:09

    Harsh to blame Tsunoda for doing what he was told

    1. Harsh? He did exactly the opposite of what he was told. AT put themselves in that position.
      Anyway starting p3 might end up working out better for RB.

    2. He is lucky Perez did not crash at that speed or worse yet crash into him. His crazy move messed up Perez’s concentration.

      1. Perez’s concentration is nobody’s issue but his and his alone.

      2. Since when does a driver ahead on a fast lap need to be concerned about the driver(s) behind?
        (unless when rejoining, but then he’s not on a ‘fast lap’ anymore).

        It’s the driver(s) behind who needs to be vigilant. He chose to risk this (or a yellow flag).

        1. Oops, I only now read he was on an ‘in lap’. Didn’t know/realise that.

  2. Horner was entirely unprofessional in his comments. Tsunoda did nothing wrong.

    Horner trying to shift the blame.

    Talk about a toxic and stressful work environment.

  3. Tsunoda should be worried but not because he did anything wrong in this case. I watched the replay and he gave Perez a huge amount of room by going completely off track long before Perez arrived on the scene. Perez just screwed up the corner. But Tsunoda should be worried that Red Bull seem all too willing to throw him under the bus for Perez’s mistake. That doesn’t bode well for his future prospects in the organization.

    1. Wrong. Yuki left the track and took a sharp right to rejoin. From Perez’ onboard it looked like Yuki went off with a dust cloud behind him and was about to rejoin the track in the middle of the upcoming high speed section. He went behind Yuki to avoid what looked like a very dangerous collision.

      Yuki is to blame for letting someone pass at that spot where the car behind is coming from a high speed blind section. It is so stupid to let someone pass there that no one had done that all weekend. He should have stepped on it, completed that section and let Checo and Max pass on the upcoming straight.

      1. @undercut677 Take a look at the onboard again. Tsunoda made a right turn off the track to avoid hitting the barriers but stayed off the track the entire time and in no way looked like he was rejoining until after the corner. Perez went behind Tsunoda only after he had already missed the braking point for the corner, got into the dust and headed off track himself.

        You can see the correction from Perez at 5 seconds when he missed the breaking point and ended up in the dust. At this point Tsunoda is a good 2 car widths off the track, moving slow and nowhere near rejoining the track.

        https://youtu.be/RBHHBcnEO5E

        1. From the point of view of Pérez he couldn’t know if Tsunoda was rejoining the track or not, he braked and moved to the left. Not only he did what eas expected from him, he did what any driver with common sense would have done. How some people can’t see the obvious I can’ understand.

          1. It’s a right turn, tsunoda was well off the track even whilst rejoining. Perez got distracted

          2. It looks like Franz Tost doesn’t think what you think is so obvious is quite as obvious as you think. Tost has more racing knowledge than this whole forum combined and is known as being extremely honest and candid, even when it comes to his own team so I’ll take his word on it.

        2. Dude, Perez at that point is startled and is braking harder than normal and is reading for evasive action. I feel bad for Yuki but he did something very very dumb. That’s not to say he is solely responsible for RB being slower than Mercedes.

  4. Red Bull do like throwing people under the Bus instead of accepting there share of the blame. I dread to think of the feeding frenzy occurring on (Un)Social Media…

  5. This was just one of those unfortunate incidents where no one was to blame. Tsunoda got out the way but kicked up dust, Perez was distracted by that and locked up and Verstappen was slowed by both of them going off.

    They could all have done something slightly better in a perfect world but it’s unfair to blame anyone for it. Unfortunately that’s not how F1 or social media works…

    1. Why do people say that Checo was distracted? It doesnt look like that at all from the onbaords. It looks like Yuki is rejoining the track with a dust cloud behind him so he aborted to go behind Yuki to avoid what seemee like a high speed crash.

      1. Cause they heard Martin Brundle say it. Which seemed to have an axe to grind with Checo’s performance all qualifying anyways. Also last race when his drink system had failed and wasn’t well either.

        At the end of the day its unlikely Checo wouldn’t have at least braked, lost out and then Max would have arrived anyways. So you can’t really say Checo was distracted.

  6. Checo said that between the dust lifted by Tsunoda (Distraction) and the dirty air his car lost downforce making it difficult to take the turn. I know Quali laps are not the same as race laps but if they are very similar then the downforce thing will be a problem for RBR because coming Sunday there will be at least 2 more cars in front of them on turns 10 and 11 …so I don’t know how RBR will be able to take the turn. (<– ironic comment here)

    The part where I see Tsunoda in the wrong is:
    1) what the heck is he doing on the track that late in Q3 when he will start from the back?
    2) If he was told to let Checo (and Max) pass… you don't go of track, if you leave the track you cause a YELLOW flag and cause the drivers behind you to be forced to slow down…so where is the logic that Tsunoda leaving the track would benefit Checo and Max? ….. not to mention causing a big cloud of dust

    What I think it happened was that Tsunoda was sent out to Tow Checo and eventually Max. It backfired, Tsunoda messed up by being caught in the worst part of the track and we know the rest.
    Horner might be very frustrated but you don't throw the Junior driver under the bus. Just own the mistake, say "it didn't work of us this time, we learn from it and will be ready to take our 1 and 2 position back tomorrow at the track" if you still want to slap the kid, do it at the paddock on the next team meeting, not in public.

    SMH

    1. Tsunoda was sent out to tow Gasly wasnt he? Not perez. Perez caught him long after he had moved aside to let Gasly through which is why he was on a slow lap.

  7. RB’s mistake is having Yuki on track while their cars are on a flying lap.

    1. If you dont have anything productive to say, dont say it at all.

    2. they wanted Yuki to give Perez a slipstream. you can’t have everything it seems

  8. I guess every other driver/car/team is wrong when anything wrong goes with RB & Max. All these drivers and teams must learn to behave when they are having RB and Max on track, which they have not learnt even after years. They must leave the track altogether and go back to pits and let only Max and RB run the show as Max and Rb can never go wrong

  9. ”I couldn’t really do more than that.”
    – Well, he could’ve stayed on track and sped up to let the Red Bulls by on the following short straight.

  10. This is ridiculous. Does Red Bull really expect that they are only going to race against 16 cars instead of 18 because the Alfa Tauris are mandated to jump out of the way??

    Is this the same team that a few weeks ago was whining about the events of the DTM finale and the way the Mercedes teams behaved?

  11. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
    7th November 2021, 7:31

    Tsunoda just gifted Hamilton another easy championship

  12. Alex Albon has six missed calls.

  13. Scapegoat. What was it that Max said, Mercedes showing their true colours? Well Red Bull definitely are now. Poor guy.

    1. +1. Always a toxic environment at red bull

  14. “The whole situation should have never happened,” he said. “Valtteri had a bad first 30 laps, and shouldn’t have been there. But George should have never launched into this manoeuvre, considering that the track was drying up. It meant taking risks, and the other car is a Mercedes in front of him. In any driver’s development, for a young driver, you must never lose this global perspective. So yeah, lots to learn for him I guess.”

    Toto Wolff on Russell’s crash into Bottas at Imola.

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