AlphaTauri’s Chief Engineer has explained Yuki Tsunoda’s confusing retirement from the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix after the Japanese driver stopped on track, retreated to the pits and re-emerged – only to stop on track once again.
Tsunoda notched his third retirement of the season and extended his point-less run to nine races – the longest run of any driver bar Nicholas Latifi – after stopping on track, having thought his tyres were improperly fitted in his Lap 44 stoppage, before being called back into the pits. After leaving the pits on Lap 48, he came to a halt and brought out the Virtual Safety Car.
“Having seen that the [hard] compound was working well, we decided to also pit Yuki for them. After the pit stop he reported something strange at the rear of the car. We called him in again to change the tyres and immediately after, we had a car failure. This is currently under investigation within the team,” said Claudio Balestri, AlphaTauri’s Chief Engineer of Vehicle Performance.
Tsunoda reported on the radio that it might have been a differential issue, and added after the race that he only returned to the pits to have his seatbelts tightened. The 22-year-old clarified that he was not hampered by a tyre issue, as he previously suspected.
“I thought there was an issue… on the rear. I got told also from my engineer, so that’s why we stopped on the track, but we didn’t see a clear issue on the data, so that’s we dropped back, pitted again to fit a new tyre and after that we saw a clear issue in the data – that is why we stopped.
“The pace was okay – well, not great but still, it was pretty hard but the points were achievable, so it’s really a shame. Definitely, we need a clean race week first, but at the same time, I feel a good progress so far in terms of pace. So, from my side I’ll just keep doing like this and push hard.”