Tsunoda thought he had an engine problem when his DRS flap failed

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In the round-up: Yuki Tsunoda didn’t realise his DRS was broken until he was ordered to pit so his team could repair it.

In brief

Tsunoda was unaware of DRS failure

AlphaTauri driver Tsunoda was shown the black-and-orange flag during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, requiring him to pit so his team could fix a broken DRS flap. It was taped up and he was sent back out, though he finished out of the points.

“They didn’t tell me what the issue was so I thought it was an engine issue,” Tsunoda admitted after the race. “It was rear wing – I didn’t know that.”

Tsunoda said he would have been happy to continue with the broken wing without pitting for repairs.

“I was running okay pace,” he said. “Until the race director gave me that black-and-orange flag, I could still drive.

“I know as a team you don’t want to take a risk, especially as we have the cost cap. But I hope this was enough reason to come back, to be honest. If it’s only those things, to be honest, we should take the risk to carry that car because I was able to [drive] and I was kind of the same pace as Vettel also.”

Alonso expected more incidents in Azerbaijan GP

Fernando Alonso admitted he expected more incidents during Sunday’s race because the cars were so difficult to drive around the Baku City Circuit.

“Probably. I was expecting more, yes,” said the Alpine driver. “The race was difficult to execute and the cars are so stiff. You can hardly see the corners in some of the braking points, and things like that. So I thought we could make more mistakes between us, between drivers.”

Perez backs Red Bull team orders

Sergio Perez said he had no problem with being told to let him team mate pass him for the third time in three races, having done so twice in Spain.

His race engineer Hugh Bird told him “no fighting” as Max Verstappen approached to overtake him for the lead. “He was clearly a lot faster at that stage of the race,” said Perez.

“So it was the right call not to fight because I didn’t have any pace at the time and Max deserved to be ahead at that point.

“We also boxed too late. So, there were a few things that played into the result, but still at the end of the day, Max deserved the win, because he was the faster car.

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Comment of the day

Should Formula 1 teams be allowed more sophisticated suspension systems to control ‘porpoising’?

It’s embarrassing FIA goes for such rules, where half the grid is kangarooing over the tracks.

This is not a pinnacle of motorsports, but some soapbox racing. Even my 20 year old street car has more advanced suspension technics, than current F1 cars. That’s what FIA should care about, cause it is devastating for the marketing of F1.

There are many series which look a lot more like motorsports currently. And I am not talking about Mercedes only, but about half the grid, or even all but two-and-a-half teams.
Steven Robertson (@emu55)

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Sudhakar, Sankarjune14, Tifoso1989, Winterwarmer and Mashiat!

On this day in motorsport

Gerhard Berger led Michael Schumacher and Jean Alesi home in Canada today in 1992
  • 30 years ago today Gerhard Berger won the Canadian Grand Prix after a controversial clash between his team mate Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Tsunoda thought he had an engine problem when his DRS flap failed”

  1. Surely there was a more informed thought yesterday than COTD. The constant outrage bait gets tiring sometimes.

    1. While COTD was a bit hyperbolic, there is a point to be made about opening up suspension regulations now that there is a cost cap in place.

      1. Pastaman. I’m with @ciaran.

        I agree there is a point, but I would be surprised if no comments highlighted that point with greater reason and rationale.

    2. I take umbrage to the kangaroo comparison, they’re far more graceful than violent vibration the cars are doing.

    3. I remember similar comments being made about the hybrid engines when they were first introduced, about how the lack of noise meant it was “not a proper motorsport” anymore. Then, as now, the comments were being stoked by certain teams who hadn’t got the new rules right, and wanted to force a change.

      Ultimately the hybrid engines stayed, and many other top categories have since switched or are switching to hybrid power. Maybe the same will happen again, and F1 will be the class leader as motorsport heads back to the future.

      1. @red-andy the components in the suspension system that the teams were allowed to use until last year – hydraulic actuators and inerters – were fairly mature systems that were widely available on the open market (quite a few teams were known to be buying components off the shelf from Penske) and, for the motorsport sector, not particularly expensive either.

        Even long before the season started, the expectation was that the main effect of the new rules was that it would make the ride much worse, and there were questions about why the FIA had made a change that nobody was calling for and where there really didn’t seem to be any clear benefit.

        With regards to your analogy with the engine changes, there was a rationale behind those rule changes – whether you agreed with it or not was another matter, but at least there was a clear philosophy behind why those changes came about. There doesn’t seem to be a particularly convincing reason given for why there was a relatively late change in the suspension systems in the current regulations in this case, given earlier drafts of the 2022 regulations do not appear to have changed those rules and there wasn’t an expectation that those rules were going to change.

    4. Emu55 obviously does not like kangaroos. I call it discrimination. #Emu and kangaroos can live together.

      1. Indeed @peartree, this stoking of wildlife differences is a scandal :)

  2. I did not (and still do not) understand the black-and-orange flag for Tsunoda.
    The car seemed perfectly fine and safe (with the DRS closed), and we’ve seen cars with more body parts loose on various occasions which were allowed to continue.

    1. I think his result would be disqualified otherwise because his rear wing would not comply to the rules.

    2. @jff Ultimately, the right call, as the issue could’ve gotten worse if he activated DRS unknowingly on the issue.
      For now, I don’t recall occasions where drivers would’ve continued with more body parts loose without eventually pitting.
      Leclerc did early in the 2019 Japanese GP, but he pitted anyway, albeit 2-3 three laps later than he could’ve.

      1. You say it right there: “could’ve gotten worse”.
        So far the DRS failure (especially when the DRS was closed) did not seem to cause any issue or risk of parts coming loose and flying around.
        On many occasions we’ve seen parts of the front wing (end plate) or whole side panels hanging loose, without the driver being shown the black-and-orange flag.

        1. And in all those cases you could argue the car should have received the flag too and indeed perhaps they might in the future now we have different people in charge. Often though if the damage is a loose part, they fall off the car before they have time to flag the car into the pits. I suppose the exception was Hamilton had a front end plate dangling earlier this year that ultimately ended up with the wing being changed in a red flag stoppage but I can’t recall how many laps he did with it flapping or whether it fell off very quickly. I think the bigger risk here was of the wing flap opening itself mid corner thus shedding any downforce.

          Personally speaking I think the Sky commentary team were spot on though that particularly when it comes to damage to a rear wing, the correct action should be retirement. They have no idea why the failure occurred or if there might be more structural damage and hence given the scope of an accident that could occur with cars going 200+MPH on a narrow street circuit, the correct option should have been to black flag him. The potential risk wasn’t worth it and teams shouldn’t be allowed to make that call.

    3. Until the wing failed completely and someone got hurt.
      Tsunoda should have received a black flag after getting his wing tapped up. The car was unsafe and came back to track still rather unsafe.

      1. I think this may be the issue is that in previous years loose body parts went unflagged (not sure that’s a word). Now with race directors following the rules perhaps we may see this more often.

        1. @millionus sure but rear wing failures cause airplane crashes. Look at all the rear wing failures after the 98 rules. Like Herbert Malaysia.

  3. Does anyone remember when was the last time in F1 an actual black and orange flag (along with the driver’s number) was displayed on the main straight?
    Or is it all just done by radio nowadays.

    1. @mantresx I don’t & possibly via radio nowadays. The trackside light panels must’ve displayed the flag coloring with 22, though, so they probably just got left outside the footage frame.

  4. I’m surprised Tsunoda didn’t get told about the issue, as drivers generally get told what they’re enduring.

    I also expected more incidents or at least drama.

    Ultimately, the right call since Perez was slower.

    Cavid tweet: The dismantling process takes time, like for all temporary circuits, from 3 weeks to about a month, location-dependent.

    The FIA_volunteers_officials Insta post already appeared in yesterday’s round-up, so having the same reappear is redundant.

    COTD raises a valid point.

  5. Perez’ paypacket must be enormous.

  6. Can I live at Plage de la mala please..!

  7. Thanks for the birthday wishes !

  8. So… Is Alonso saying his team should soften up the suspension, and make the car easier to drive?

    After all, everyone else is saying “All Mercedes has to do is raise their ride height”. Of course, none of these people are race engineers, or aerodynamicists….

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