Tsunoda lost trust in FIA following reprimands

Date published: June 12 2022 - Michelle Foster

Yuki Tsunoda doing an interview in the bullpen. Baku June 2022

Yuki Tsunoda says he does not trust the “super inconsistent” FIA after closing in on a grid penalty when he was slapped with a fourth reprimand in Monaco for reasons he doesn’t “know why”.

Tsunoda is walking the line for a 10-place grid penalty after he was deemed to have impeded Haas driver Kevin Magnussen in Friday practice in Monte Carlo.

The stewards declared that while “it is not common to impose penalties for impeding during free practice sessions”, Tsunoda’s incident was “sufficiently serious to warrant” a penalty.

The AlphaTauri driver said at the time that he was baffled by the decision.

“I tried to push at the chicane and let him by at Turn 11,” he said. “In the end, he went straight again. My perspective, this is the only place to go [past]. It’s hard to let him by.”

On a weekend in which Ferrari also criticised the FIA after they were slapped with a monetary fine when Carlos Sainz impeded Lance Stroll, Max Verstappen escaped a penalty when he toyed with the pit lane exit line during the grand prix.

In that instance the FIA declared that the race director’s notes differed to the rule and therefore he could not be sanctioned.

The FIA took steps to clear that up ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix with Tsunoda asked for his thoughts on that.

He instead gave his thoughts on the FIA’s decision making as a whole.

Yuki Tsunoda wearing sunglasses. Melbourne, April 2022.

“I’m not trusting the FIA,” said the Japanese driver. “Every time it’s super inconsistent.

“I got already four reprimands, and the last time in Monaco, I still don’t know why.

“I mean, it’s not good to say what other drivers were doing, but other drivers were doing even worse things and they don’t have any investigation, whereas other races they [the FIA] were suddenly getting strict or something like that.

“So probably if someone cross the white line there would be a penalty for some races.

“For me, I’ll just stick to what the regulation [says] or just the safest as much as possible to not get in any trouble.

“So I don’t think that, ‘okay, Max and Checo were crossing the line last time in Monaco so we can do it.’ I think every time it is different.”

The driver feels a large part of this season’s problem is because the FIA now have two race directors instead of one.

“It is a completely different style of race director,” Tsunoda added.

“I’m not saying fully negative things, because it is also a good thing that they try to make it consistent and to be fair as much as possible with all the teams. For example, the white line track limit is more clear.

“But a lot of things, other things, a racing incident or traffic management and all those things, I think Michael Masi had more experience if I compare.

“I need to wait more time to get used to it or have more experience in having good data to make actually good rules. So until then, I just have to survive to not get a penalty.”