Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto apologized on Saturday for causing anger by comparing accident-prone Japanese Formula One driver Yuki Tsunoda to a tsunami.
AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda has received five reprimands in 15 races, as well as eight penalty points on his super license in the last 12 months. Twelve points in a year triggers an automatic racing ban. “I must certainly apologise,” Binotto said after being told by a Japanese reporter during the Italian Grand Prix that the comments after last weekend’s race in the Netherlands had offended Japan.
“It was a mistake to use that word. There was no intention to do anything wrong. I am very close to the victims, which I honestly realize. I think Tsunoda is a pilot fantastic, he’s a great man and we had a good relationship between the two of us. We just called him to make a simple joke, but it’s a bad joke.”
Thousands of people died in Japan when a massive earthquake off its northeast coast in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that swept inland and caused the collapse of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Tsunoda was caught up in controversy at Zandvoort when he triggered a virtual safety car while stopping on the track, an incident that ultimately helped Red Bull race winner and runaway championship leader Max Verstappen.
The Japanese had first stopped, suspecting a loose wheel, then returned to the pits before being sent back to stop with a differential failure. AlphaTauri is also owned by Red Bull, fueling conspiracy theories and online abuse that have been widely condemned in the sport.
“We had no communication with Red Bull Racing during the race,” AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost told reporters on Saturday. “Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing don’t need our help. They win on their own and we need every point for ourselves. It was never scheduled for us to stop the car during the race because Yuki was in a good position to score points.
“We were frustrated ourselves. We could have scored points and this differential failure was absolutely a surprise. We didn’t have this problem before and so I don’t understand the reaction.”
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)