Franz Tost not impressed with Yuki Tsunoda over ‘not clever’ penalty

Michelle Foster
Yuki Tsunoda up close in the AlphaTauri. Italy September 2022

Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda up close in the AlphaTauri. Italy September 2022

Franz Tost has told Yuki Tsunoda that he needs to be “more disciplined” as ignoring yellow flags is “not clever”.

Tsunoda has racked up a mountain of penalties for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, the AlphaTauri driver lining up at the very back of the grid.

He arrived at Monza already facing a 10-place penalty having earned a fifth reprimand for this season last time out at Zandvoort where he drove back to the pits with his seatbelts unfastened.

And then he earned himself a further three-place grid drop with an infringement in Friday’s second practice at Monza.

The Japanese driver was found to have not slowed when yellow flags were shown around the circuit and also on his steering wheel.

His team boss was not at all impressed.

“Look to the qualifying in Zandvoort, look to FP1 here in Monza,” he said. “In the car he is doing a really good job.

“He has just to get under control his emotions and he must be more disciplined because to ignore a yellow flag in FP2 is not clever.

“I understand that it’s difficult in qualifying, or maybe sometimes in the race, but in a free practice session you in any way have to accept yellow flags and have to react in the correct way, which means you have to slow down.”

With a 13-place penalty on the cards, AlphaTauri made the call to change Tsunoda’s engine putting him right at the very back of the grid.

Tost also weighed in on the Zandvoort confusion that had some conspiracy theorists crying foul when Tsunoda stopped his car on the side of the track with a problem, was told to continue, pitted, and the returned to the track only to retire the car.

That stoppage was fortunate for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who could make a pit stop under the Virtual Safety Car and not lose time to the chasing Mercedes drivers.

“It was a surprise because I don’t think that we made anything wrong,” Tost said.

“We were frustrated ourselves that Yuki could not finish the race because he could have scored points and this differential failure was absolutely a surprise.

“We didn’t have this problem before, and therefore I don’t understand the reactions.”

AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda walks away from his stricken AT03. Netherlands September 2022

Explaining what happened, he said: “Yuki came in lap 43 for his second stop, we put on the hard tyres and when he left the pits he immediately said a tyre came loose. The engineer reacted correctly, telling him stop the car.

“We checked the data in the meantime and we detected that all the tyres were tightened, there was no problem. Therefore, we said to Yuki, ‘please come back because we want to change the tyres once more’.

“He stopped and the tyres were dirty in the sand and the temperature from the tyres came down. He came in, we changed the tyres and when he went out once more we saw on the data that the rear differential was broken and this was also what Yuki felt already with the first pit stop.

“The pressure from the differential came down step by step, therefore it was difficult to detect it immediately after the first pit stop. And the problem was quite simple.

“Maybe to answer questions already now, we had no communication with Red Bull Racing during the race. Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing do not need our help, they win by themselves and we need every point ourself.

“Therefore it was never programmed that we stop a car during the race because Yuki was in a good position to score points.”