Binotto apologizes for Tsunoda’s ‘tsunami’ remark


Following Tsunoda’s controversial exit from the Dutch Grand Prix, where he briefly stopped on the track, recovered in the pits and then ventured out again before retiring for good, Binotto made some remarks on the young Japanese.

In an interview with Gazzetta dello SportBinotto called Tsunoda a “tsunami” for how he was always involved in incidents.

But Binotto’s choice of words has not gone down well in Japan, with memories still fresh of the devastating 2011 tsunami that killed nearly 16,000 people and left much of the country devastated.

Speaking at the Italian Grand Prix, and being told of the upheaval his words had caused, Binotto was quick to apologise.

“Certainly I have to apologize,” he said. “It was a mistake to use that word. I had no intention of doing anything wrong and I am very close to the victims, which I honestly realized.

“I think Tsunoda is a fantastic driver, he’s a great man. And we have a good relationship between the two [of us]. We just called him in a way that was just a joke, but it was a bad joke.”

Tsunoda’s retirement from the Dutch GP has sparked some controversy, which has sparked wild conspiracy theories on social media that he deliberately stopped on track to help his compatriot from Team Red Bull to win the race with Max Verstappen.

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal, Ferrari

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

This suggestion was dismissed by Tsunoda and his team, as team manager Franz Tost explained what really happened.

“Yuki came in on lap 43 for a second stop,” he explained. “We put the hard tires on and when he left the pits he immediately said [he felt] the tire came off.

“The engineer reacted correctly by telling him to stop the car. We checked the data and detected that all the tires were tight: there was no problem.

“Therefore, we said to Yuki, please come back because we want to change the tires one more time. He stopped and the tires were dirty in the sand and the tire temperature went down.

“So he went in, we changed the tires and when he went out one more time. We saw on the data that the rear differential was broken.

“It was also what Yuki already felt with the first pit stop. But it went step by step, the differential pressure came down step by step. Therefore, it was difficult to detect it immediately after the first pit stop. to the pits. And the problem was pretty easy.”

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Speaking on theories that Tsunoda’s retirement was a ploy to help Verstappen beat Mercedes, Tost said: “We had no communication with Red Bull Racing during the race.

“Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing don’t need our help. They win on their own. And we need every point on our own.

“So it was never scheduled for us to stop a car during the race because Yuki was in a good position to score points.”

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