Tsunoda tells conspiracy theorists to check their brains

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri retired from the race. 04.09.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, Netherlands, Race
© XPB 

AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda says that those people who believe that his retirement from last week's Dutch Grand Prix was staged in order to benefit Max Verstappen should get their heads examined.

Tsunoda pulled over to the side of the track shortly after pitting on lap 42 suspecting that one of his wheels had not been fastened properly, unfastening his seat belt as he did so.

But the team told him that the wheels were firmly affixed and instructed him to bring the AT03 back to the pits, which he duly did. While mechanics checked the car over, his seat belt was refastened by other members of the pit crew.

However he was still unable to get back up to speed once he returned to the track, and pulled over a second time with what proved to be a differential issue. This time a Virtual Safety Car was needed to retrieve the car.

Expecting a safety car that didn't materialise, Charles Leclerc had pitted during Tsunoda's first stoppage. Verstappen stayed out and was able to get a 'bargain' stop under the subsequent VSC and went on to win the race.

It didn't take long for the rumours to start that Tsunoda's bizarre 'double' retirement has been staged by AlphaTauri to benefit the senior Red Bull squad.

"It's funny that fans are really excited to always create the story," Tsunoda said at a media interview in Monza ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix. "It's just a super simple fact that there was an issue in the car.

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri AT03 retired from the race. 04.09.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, Netherlands, Race

"Straight away I felt some strange things at the rear," he said when asked what had happened. "I thought at first it was the tyre. I got radio from the team to stop the car in a safe place at the side of the track, so I just stopped and nearly switched off as well.

"But I got told again from the team that we didn't find any issues and that's why we restarted. We fitted a new tyre, but I felt clearly that there was an issue again," he added. "So that's why they said to stop.

"The situation made it of course a little bit confused, but there's not any room to complain to the team, myself and also especially to Red Bull that it's such a to be honest crazy, crazy story.

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri. 08.09.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Preparation

"Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri are completely different teams. Well, you know, it not as [much] as the other teams but still, it's a different name," he pointed out. "We're in Italy, they're in the UK. We perform in completely different fields.

"I was also running in an opportunity, a good place to score points, so there's not any reason [to retire] just to help them," he said, dismissing the fan theories that sprouted over the following days.

"I don't want to know and I don't care," he said. "I want to actually ask how your brain looks like. Scan the MRI and see what's wrong! It's funny how they create the story."

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