Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Interlagos, 2023

Tsunoda says car problem stopped him from passing Hamilton

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In the round-up: Yuki Tsunoda said a problem with his car kept him from challenging Lewis Hamilton for eighth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

In brief

Tsunoda says more was possible

Tsunoda believes he could have finished higher than ninth had he not been struck by technical trouble in the latter stages of yesterday’s race. His team later confirmed he was managing a clutch problem.

“Definitely I could have done more,” he said. “Sorry for the team. In the end I [wasn’t] able to push to the maximum for several reasons. P15 to P9 is still good. Well done to the team.”

Asked which of the drivers who finished ahead of him he might have passed Tsunoda said, “I don’t know about Pierre [Gasly], but Lewis quite high chance.”

Start crash a repeat of Qatar – Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg said the the crash he was involved in at the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix reminded him of a similar incident in Qatar earlier in the season.

“It was a typical start situation where it got too tight there, and it was very similar to what happened to me in the Sprint in Qatar, I got sandwiched,” he said. “You can’t really bail out at that point, so I made contact with Albon which then put him into Kevin [Magnussen].

“It was unfortunate but there wasn’t much we could do. There was damage but the red flag allowed us to repair it, so the car was fine, there was just no performance this weekend.”

Double retirement blow for Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo said its drivers retired from the Brazilian Grand Prix because of two different problems. Zhou Guanyu dropped out after 22 laps and Valtteri Bottas joined him shortly after half-distance.

“We’re really disappointed today, especially because both drivers were delivering very solid races,” said team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi.

“Valtteri was firmly in P10, with Zhou right behind him, after a good start and with a car that performed much better than in the previous days. We were fighting with the Alpines, the AlphaTauris and a points finish was definitely on the cards.

“Last year we suffered quite a few DNFs, and this year we improved significantly: it’s therefore even more disappointing to have two of them in the same race, and at the end of the season, when every opportunity matters even more.

“We will need to investigate exactly what happened, it was two separate issues that forced us to stop the cars to avoid any further damage. We will look into them in Hinwil to make sure neither recurs.”

Brazilian GP attendance rises

Formula 1 reported a full race weekend attendance of 267,000 for the Brazilian Grand Prix, a 13% increase on last year. However the race promoter faces an FIA World Motor Sport Council investigation over a track invasion.

Toyota chairman thanks WEC organiser

Toyota won six out of seven WEC races this year
Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda congratulated his team on their successful end to the World Endurance Championship season in which they clinched the championship and won every race with the exception of the Le Mans 24 Hours. The number eight car of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa shared the drivers’ title after the sister machine was hit at the first corner of the eight-hour season finale in Bahrain.

“The ‘battle of athletes’ that the two Toyota Gazoo Racing cars fought until the end was the best,” said Toyoda. “Both cars experienced challenges. I feel sorry that the drivers were not able to drive the final race comfortably. Car number seven had an accident at the start, but it quickly closed the gap and fought for the victory with car number eight in a race that could have easily been won by either car. It was a race where all competitors pushed hard in difficult conditions.

“The main characters of motorsports are the people behind the wheel. That’s what makes it a sport, and I believe that everyone who takes part is an athlete and a fighter. This year’s WEC has seen an increase in rivals, making it the ‘battlefield’ that fans have been waiting for. At the championship finale, today’s athletes showed how they are giving their all to get the result. As a fan, I was very excited to see this. We would also like to thank the organisers for creating an environment where athletes can compete.”

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Comment of the day

DRS passes were too easy in Brazil, says Lynn:

But when the show is been put above the sport and it’s all about quantity rather than quality I sadly can’t see it ever been scrapped because the low attention span Netflix fans who just want to see a million cases of cars easily cruising past other cars are the key demographic for Liberty.

Those of us who want to see some proper racing with some proper fighting and some real, genuine, exciting & memorable overtakes are sadly no longer the segment of the fanbase that Liberty care about.

Drivers easily cruising past other drivers who have no opportunity to defend in a pre-designated FIA passing zone at the push of a button is not, never has been and will never be fun, exciting or memorable because it is not, never has been and never will be real racing!

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to A.S. Mahesh, Claudio Sampaio, Flowerdew and Hawksfan!

On this day in motorsport

Ayrton Senna led the Williams pair in qualifying for the 1993 season finale
  • 30 years ago today Ayrton Senna claimed pole position for his final race for McLaren at Adelaide

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13 comments on “Tsunoda says car problem stopped him from passing Hamilton”

  1. That drag up the hill must have played a part in the clutch fatigue. Modulating the motor/battery power, could create more derivative wear on the clutch. Would love to hear audio of the Honda power units going around the last few bends, to see if they are ‘dragging’ their rear w/ excessive engine breaking (killing the ignition/gas pressure), in order to keep the rear end lower to the ground/better traction.

  2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    6th November 2023, 6:34

    Is it the driver Yuki?

    1. Why do you keep bagging out Yuki. He’s driven tremendously this year and achieved a lot more than you ever will

      1. @Erkr – I’d say Yuki has been pretty average this year, but his general attitude is awful, and it’s negatively affecting his performance.

        1. Pretty average? In a consistently poor car, dealing with often incompetent strategists? Ending De Vries career and scoring the majority of points? Constant derision by armchair experts. His frank attitude is not unlike some other popular drivers.

          1. @Erkr My main point is his attitude is negatively affecting his performance. He gets easily flustered and it leads to him making costly mistakes. I hope he get’s things under control, so he can maybe rise above his average performances.

      2. you lost it when you got personal. Nobody is talking about anybody’s lifes here. Tsunoda is so-so at best and people are allowed to voice that opinion.

  3. Why don’t people realize that DRS wasn’t the cause for some overtakes looking relatively easy tyre deltas (or car in some cases).
    For reference, Interlagos has never really been one of those places were DRS has seemingly been overpowered, after all.
    Otherwise, Checo would’ve passes Alonso quickly.

    1. I still think DRS* is making the overtaking too easy.
      The reason that Checo couldn’t overtake was because Alonso took a different line through the final section, turns 9-12, to create more traction and the therefore a head start into the ‘curved straight’. A bit disappointing that Checo fell for it every lap.

      * CotD seems to mix up FOM’s commercial role with FIA’s sporting role. Undoubtedly, there are influences though.

  4. Am I the only one reading a political statement about the BOP in Toyota’s athlete’s statement?

    1. No. Toyota has violated the Sporting Regulations before by openly complaining about the BoP after Le Mans. Ever since, they have been the outright fastest package, bordering on domination.

      The Hypercar and LMDh class has promise, but that’s no guarantee of success. If anything, the BoP that attracted the manufacturers can easily chase away the fans if they don’t deliver on their promise. Because while BoP has inherent flaws and downsides, a lot of people can overlook that if the result is good; like in GT racing.

      If BoP is used to give the biggest complainers an advantage, that’s a huge turnoff.

      1. Incorrect. Last minute changes were made to bring BoP to Le Mans, when it was initially decided not to. Toyota were well within their means to complain. On the other hand, if the #8 didn’t make the mistake and go off, they probably would have beat Ferrari anyways

  5. Re-CoTD On many tracks the DRS is too strong and guarantees that faster cars steam past any slower cars they find themselves behind before they hit the braking zone, killing any actual racing or defending. But in Brazil, I think the DRS was judged pretty well. The two activation points and zones on the main straight and going into turn 4 provide opportunities to pass, but also a tactical and positional element that both the attacker and the defender can use to their advantage. The attacking driver can’t just take the inside line into turn 1 and assume the job is done, they need to either get further ahead (which only happened with a significant car/tyre advantage or much better exit from the bottom of the hill), or try and compromise the opponent’s line and attempt to make the pass into turn 4 on the brakes.

    We saw all this playing out several times, but most obviously in the Alonso/Perez skirmish. I don’t really understand how anyone could watch the Alonso/Perez battle and not consider it ‘real racing’. If DRS was not present, we would have just seen the cars follow in formation until they took the chequered flag, without showcasing any tactics or racing skill, and having no suspense or doubt over the outcome.

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