Binotto apologises for Tsunoda "tsunami" remark

Ferrari Formula 1 team principal Mattia Binotto has apologised for any offence he caused by labelling Yuki Tsunoda a "tsunami".

Binotto apologises for Tsunoda "tsunami" remark

In the wake of Tsunoda’s controversial exit from the Dutch Grand Prix, where he briefly stopped on track, recovered to the pits and then ventured out again before retiring for good, Binotto made some remarks about the Japanese youngster.

In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Binotto referred to Tsunoda as a "tsunami" for the way that he was often involved in incidents.

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

Speaking at the Italian Grand Prix, and having been informed of the upset that his remarks had caused, Binotto did not hesitate to say sorry.

“Certainly, I need to apologise,” he said.

“It was a mistake by using that word. I had no intention to do anything wrong and I'm very close to the victims, which honestly I realised.

“I think that Tsunoda is a fantastic driver, he is a great man. And we've got a good relationship between the two [of us].

“We simply called him in a way that was a simple joke, but it was a bad joke.”

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal, Ferrari

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal, Ferrari

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Tsunoda’s retirement from the Dutch GP triggered some controversy, with it prompting wild conspiracy theories on social media that he had deliberately stopped on track to help fellow Red Bull team win the race with Max Verstappen.

That suggestions has been rubbished by Tsunoda and his squad, as team principal Franz Tost expanded on what really happened.

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

“The engineer reacted correctly, telling him stop the car. We checked in the data and we detected that all the tyres were tightened: there was no problem.

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“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.

“So he came in, we changed the tyres and when he went out once more. We saw it on the data that the rear differential was broken.

“This was also what Yuki felt already with the first pitstop. But it went step by step, the pressure from the differential it came down step by step.

“Therefore, it was difficult to detect it immediately after the first pitstop. And the problem was quite simple.”

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Speaking about the theories of Tsunoda’s retirement being 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 do not need our help. They win by themselves. And we need every point by ourself.

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

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