Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021

“It’s not Yuki’s fault”: AlphaTauri boss defends Tsunoda after Red Bull criticism

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost defended Yuki Tsunoda after Red Bull blamed his driver for spoiling their qualifying performance in Mexico.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said his drivers were “Tsunoda’d” after Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez’s final laps in Q3 were disrupted when they encountered the AlphaTauri.

Tsunoda moved off the track at turn 11 when he was caught by Perez. However, the Red Bull driver also went off at the same corner. And Verstappen, the next car on the scene, backed off as a result.

Tost insisted his driver had done nothing wrong and moved out of the way as soon as he was warned that Perez was closing on him.

“We said to him on the radio that the Red Bulls are coming and he just go[es] off the track [so] that they could pass easily,” Tost explained. “And Perez followed him. It’s not Yuki’s fault.”

“He didn’t make a mistake,” Tost stressed. “He did it deliberately. We said to him, the Red Bulls are coming, Perez is coming, and he deliberately went to the side not to disturb them or not to be in front of them.”

Tost queried why Perez went off at the same corner as Tsunoda. “To be honest, I absolutely don’t understand why Perez went also off the track there,” he said.

“Yuki went to the side, as all the drivers do in qualifying to make [space] for the cars which are coming behind which on a qualifying lap. He was not on a qualifying lap. As easy as that. Therefore I don’t understand anything about this.”

However Perez said he went off because he lost downforce when he caught Tsunoda. “I got Yuki going through the high speed and once you have a lack of downforce here in the high speed, you’re off,” he said.

Tsunoda went into qualifying knowing he would start from the back of the grid due to a power unit penalty. Perez questioned why he was participating in Q3 under the circumstances.

“I was annoyed,” he said. “It’s Q3, he shouldn’t be there. But it is what it is.”

But Tost pointed out the team did stand to gain from Tsunoda reaching Q3, including ensuring he out-qualified Lando Norris, who was also running in Q3 despite having the same penalty. “He gave some tow to Pierre,” said Tost. “As easy as that.

“And we want to be in front of Norris right now. So two [reasons] why he was out.”

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53 comments on ““It’s not Yuki’s fault”: AlphaTauri boss defends Tsunoda after Red Bull criticism”

  1. Let’s pretend Perez doesn’t leave the track, still by Yuki going off the track it causes a YELLOW Flag, thus mandatory for following drivers to slow down. How was that supposed to help RBR drivers? Max would’ve had to slow down anyways

    My feeling is Yuki knew he would’ve caused a Yellow Flag had his stayed off track and that’s why he tried to rejoin the track at the time Checo was already there, Yuki never followed the sign / arrows to rejoin the track properly.

    1. Jake (@jagged-jake)
      7th November 2021, 5:32

      But there was no yellow flags caused isn’t?

    2. No a yellow flag is not automatically shown just because a driver is off track, in fact it is quite typical for drivers on an in lap to take to run off like Tsunoda did to get out of the way of drivers on the fast laps – they do it all the time. A yellow flag would have been shown had Tsunoda spun there, or stopped there, but not when he very deliberately pulls off to get out the way.

    3. Xavi, did you watch qualifying? Nothing you’ve said actually happened.

      1. Look at his first two words..

  2. Good to see Franz speak up in defence of his driver; also offering logical reasons to the people saying Yuki should not have been on track anyway given his penalty.
    I hope Yuki has a good race and maybe picks up some points after starting further back. Let your driving do the talking as Max says.

  3. Far out, feeling for Yuki over this one. How can you criticise him for performing well enough to be in q3? Of course it’s worthwhile, especially at this stage of the season when penalties are being handed out all over the place. I guess he won’t be particularly helpful when the blue flags arrive. At least he shouldn’t be.

  4. There was no logical reason for Yuk to be on the track at that critical moment. Honestly it was a dumb move also.

    1. Jake (@jagged-jake)
      7th November 2021, 5:36

      But it’s not like Red Bull was not aware that Yuki was there and in the past Quali the Red Bulls have used their junior Team for slipstream!

      1. And until shortly before that point Perez had been enjoying a tow from him, that’s why he wasn’t further behind him after all wasn’t it @jagged-jake

        I think you are wrong to make it so drivers need to prove why they are on track, instead of not being there so the faster cars can get an easy run Lucho19 (and in the same car, Gasly was only just behind the Red Bulls ;), he was getting out of the way to let Perez past, who in my opinion used that ‘he gave me dirty air’ to cover his own mistake (and again, had been close bc. he wanted a tow, so not like it’s Tsunoda who did that to him then).

    2. Yes there was. he slipstreamed Gasly to 5th place, and certainly helped gain him a position over Sainz, and since Alpha Tauri is only 10 points behind Alpine every point helps.

    3. F1oSaurus (@)
      7th November 2021, 14:47

      Lol, Tsunoda was there to give Gasly a tow. He had to ruin his own strategy (has to start on softs now) just so he could help Gasly move up one or two spots in Q3.

      All that and then he still gets blamed for the incompetence of Perez with all the naming, shaming, swearing and expletives. It’s such a toxic bunch at Red Bull

  5. Matthew Shaver
    7th November 2021, 3:55

    Is there any other driver that Christian Horner would feel so comfortable to turn their name into an epithet? Sounds like racism to me. Not saying he is a raging racist. But I think he owes Yuki a public appology.

    1. Completely agree, it was uncalled for.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      7th November 2021, 9:05

      No…. That’s not racism. Not at all. It sounds like it was just bad communication all round – Yuki should have sped up and let them pass him on the straight but let’s not bring racism into this because that’s clearly not what’s going on here.

      1. But it was. The direct quote was “Tsunoda’d”. That’s racist.

        1. No it’s rude, not racist. He didn’t name him anything related to his ethnical background and his insult was because of his actions, not because of his background. If someone calls a black man an idiot for dropping a bottle it is not racism. If he were to say “you blacks are idiots”, then that would be racism.
          Does this help explain the difference?

        2. Come on… Woke attack incoming.

          This is getting ridiculous

        3. Can you Please explain how it’s racist. I have a strong dislike Horner but it feels like quite a stretch.

        4. Dang son, you just got Erkr’d

    3. Redbull is bullying a rookie

  6. Where was Tsunoda supposed to go?
    He’s been criticised for getting out of the way…. What would he have received if he’d stayed on the racing line?

    As for the suggestion that he shouldn’t have even been out on track in that session – what a terrible attitude. I want to see every driver and team put in their best performance every time, regardless of any penalties to be applied later.

    I hope he has a good race, anyway. He’s got some pace this weekend.

    1. @S He shouldn’t have left the track but sped up to let the Red Bulls by on the following straight, very simply.

      1. Very simple to say, indeed @jerejj. Somewhat more difficult to do.

        Regardless, you can’t get more ‘out of the way’ than leaving the track completely.
        If the guy behind messes up his braking and turn in, that’s not Tsunoda’s fault.

        For comparison – this is no different to running straight on at Monza’s turn 1 to stay out of the way – but nobody seems to complain when they do it there. Russia’s Turn 2 is similar.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          7th November 2021, 9:09

          It’s pretty simple to do as well. The teams have access to gps data – they should have told him to speed up. The marshalls could have easily thrown a yellow out there as Yuki was in the runoff area.

          1. But the team clearly didn’t tell him to speed up, so does that not mean that they are at least as responsible as their driver?

            Nevertheless, I don’t think it was a fault or Alpha Tauri or Tsunoda.
            It was all Perez. He is the one who made the driving error.

    2. The perils of a 4 car team I guess.

  7. Sundar Srinivas Harish
    7th November 2021, 4:51

    “I was annoyed,” he said. “It’s Q3, he shouldn’t be there. But it is what it is.”

    Tsunoda was quick enough for Q3, which is why he was there. The penalty is is irrelevant. Mighty entitled from Perez, unless he plans on dropping out of qualifying in Q1 itself the next time he has a penalty.

  8. Jake (@jagged-jake)
    7th November 2021, 5:37

    Fully agree mate!!!

    1. whoever wins, we lose!

  9. Unsurprising, but he’s wrong.

  10. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    7th November 2021, 6:53

    This is just pathetic on RB’s behalf expecting the sister team cars to disappear from the track and then using a rookie as a scapegoat for their failure. With the amount of data and GPS traces they have, anyone from AT could have figured out Perez was going to catch Yuki and asked him to complete his in lap sooner.

  11. George May (@grandmasterorge)
    7th November 2021, 8:08

    Watching the on board from Perez it looks like the amount of dust kicked up was maybe the distraction? Yuki has done the rioting and pulled off, but unfortunately due to the surface it’s kicked up dust and looks like something has happened ahead.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      7th November 2021, 9:12

      Yep that’s it. If you look at Perez’s onboard, it’s clearly going to distract him. I think it’s just a bit unfortunate rather than anything else. Holding Verstappen up for half a lap in Austin was much worse than this.

  12. He tried to do the right thing, he doesn’t know the dust levels! He just got it wrong but Perez has a scapegoat. Horner is really an awful individual speaking like that. Again Max’s radio comments weren’t that pleasant either, but Yuki I guess has previous here.

  13. Red Bull lost the pole position – it will be up to Max to regain the win.

    1. Davethechicken
      7th November 2021, 11:33

      Ableist terms like “retard” “dumb idiot” and “mongol” should not be broadcast and end this slapping the wrist approach to racist and ableist language by drivers.
      Contrast nascar and their response to racist language.
      I don’t want to hear Max or anyone else getting on like this week after week.
      The lack of any action last year with Max and his “mongol” incident number 2 was disgraceful.

  14. Yuki’s biggest fault was that he did not move cleanly when he knew the God is coming behind – Max and that too in bigger brother – RB

  15. If it wasn’t for the other teams, RB would finish first and second everytime.

  16. But it was. The direct quote was “Tsunoda’d”. That’s racist.

    1. Come on… This is getting ridiculous.

    2. how is it racist? it’s literally his name and “‘d” after it

    3. Now you’re Erkring it. It’s so easy to be a racist nowadays.

  17. I can’t see how Yuki is responsible for the cars immediately behind him. Also, foul attitudes and comments from Christian Horner and his pet thug.

  18. When you watch Perez’ OnBoard I think the thing that caused him to oversteer into the runoff wasn’t so much the dirty air but more the fact that he was further over to the left than prior laps so when he turned into the right his left/rear wheel was on the kerb which is what caused the back end to snap. Same thing we have seen many times over the weekend (And in past years), If you are a bit offline on the dust & especially on a dusty kerb the back end will step out.

    Watching a bunch of OnBoards from the weekend nobody that i’ve seen was as far over to the left touching that kerb as Perez was on that last qualifying lap. Had he been slightly more to the right on the more normal line I think he’d have been able to make the corner without issue.

  19. F1oSaurus (@)
    7th November 2021, 14:48

    Poor guy tries to do what he can for his team, but Perez freaks out and messes everything up.

    F1 really needs to put an end to Verstappen’s foul mouth. Does he have to press the button to open the radio channel, or is just everything that barfs out of his moth get put on air automatically? I assume it’s actually the case that he has to press a button, which makes it even more despicable how he expresses himself about colleagues and even team mates in such derogatory terms.

    1. Agree, he’s been running that mouth for years unchecked. Speaks more for Horner’s inability to control his driver and protect brand integrity (if there were any integrity to RBR in the first place). If I were Stefano Domenicali, I’d be having a quiet word with Horner about his pet thug bringing the sport into disrepute (examples such as the m**gols and re**rds incident).

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      7th November 2021, 16:13

      The reality is the broadcasters do not have to let us hear it.

      It is them that needs to be reminded of who the audience is.

  20. The only way to redeem himself is to take out a silver arrow today.

  21. “True” fans say they don’t want the gimmicks and randomness of Indycar.
    But what people are discussing about yesterday’s qualifying is just the result of gimmicks, of having a qualifying format that was create to generate some randomness.
    66% of fans enjoy this system, and that’s because the fans can tolerate some randomness. It’s good. Instead of a Red Bull front row, we have an interesting perspective for the race.

    That’s why I’m not against further changes to the format. Don’t say the the “pure sport” qualifying is being killed, because it was killed long ago, in 2003.

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