Tsunoda 'drifting' car failure under investigation by AlphaTauri

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AlphaTauri is investigating the car issue that caused Yuki Tsunoda to stop twice in Sunday's Dutch Grand Prix, with the second stoppage bringing the Japanese driver's race to a permanent halt.

Shortly after his second pitstop on lap 43 of 72, Tsunoda grounded to a halt out on the track, claiming over the radio that his car's tyres had not been properly fitted.

But the AlphaTauri crews could see no data corroborating their driver's claim and encouraged Tsunoda to continue.

The Japanese driver, who was ready to abandon his car, had loosened his seatbelts however; he therefore cautiously made his way back to the pits to have them re-tightened.

But shortly after he rejoined the race, as he approached Turn 3, he was told to immediately stop, as the AlphaTauri's engineers had in the interim spotted some worrying data.

"I thought there was an issue, it was quite clear, especially in the rear," said Tsunoda, who was on course for a top-ten finish when the issue occurred.

"That's why I got the call from my engineer to stop, but we didn't see any clear issue in the data - that's why we drove back again to fit a new [set] of tyres.

"After that, we saw a clear [problem] in the data, that's why we stopped.

"When I accelerated out of the pit exit, I felt like just one wheel was having wheel-spin.

"I was drifting along the straight, and counter-steering along it, so that's why I didn't think it was normal.

"We fitted a new tyre, and I confirmed that the same thing was happening.

"At first I thought the Hard tyre was wheel-spinning because of low grip, but the issue is something going on at the rear, and the engineers confirmed there was an issue, so we stopped.

"I don't know what it was because I had no radio."

Tsunoda was handed a reprimand by the Dutch Grand Prix stewards for driving with loose seatbelts, but the official FIA document also stated that the AlphaTauri's stoppage out on track had been caused by a differential issue.

In the team's post-race press release, AlphaTauri chief engineer for vehicle performance Claudio Balestri said that there had been a clear "car failure".

"After the pit stop, he reported something strange at the rear of the car, we called him in again to change the tyres and immediately after we had a car failure," said Balestri.

"This is currently under investigation within the team."

Regarding Tsunoda's reprimand, its the Japanese driver's fifth such sanction collected this year, which theoretically implies a 10-place grid drop for the AlphaTauri charger for next weekend's Italian Grand Prix.

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