Toto Wolff gives his comments on Yuki Tsunoda’s DNF, which brought out the Virtual Safety Car just at the right time for Max Verstappen to have a ‘free’ pit stop.
However, while the Briton was closing in on race leader Max Verstappen, who was yet to pit for the second time, a DNF from AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda brought out the Virtual Safety Car, and provided the Dutch driver with an opportunity to have a ‘free’ pit stop.
However the circumstances surrounding Tsunoda’s DNF were a bit peculiar. He first stopped on the track for a little while, thinking that his wheel was not properly fitted.
His engineer then informed him that everything was fine, so he returned to the track. However, by his own admission, he already started to unbuckle himself, so he had to make a pit stop to allow the mechanics to tighten his seatbelts.
During this stop he was also fitted with new tyres, but while he was exiting the pitlane, he was told by his team to stop his car once he got back onto the track. Later it was revealed that they detected a problem with the differential.
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Considering how all this happened just at the right time for Verstappen to make his stop, and considering that AlphaTauri is owned by Red Bull, some have found this whole situation to be quite suspicious. Especially the fact that the problem was allegedly not detected in time to stop the team from releasing him from the pits.
After the race Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was asked to give his comments on this situation.
“If we were to fight for a championship that would be something I would closely look at,” the Austrian said..
“Now I think what needs to be investigated for the safety of drivers and everybody out there, is that the driver stopped, unbuckled, did a full lap, came in, the problem wasn’t solved, they put the seatbelts back on and he drove out and stopped the car again.
“That probably could have changed the race that maybe we could have won, but in this sport ‘maybe’ is anyway irrelevant.
“For me, I’m not thinking about that anymore, it’s gone,” Wolff concluded.
After the race Tsunoda received a reprimand for driving on track with his seatbelts not properly fastened.