Tost denies grabbing Speed by the neck

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has denied he grabbed Scott Speed by the neck during an altercation at the European Grand Prix

Tost denies grabbing Speed by the neck

American Speed slammed Tost after the Nurburgring race, saying he had been jerked back and forth after an argument in the pitlane.

"There were a couple of people who saw. He grabbed me right below the neck, on my fireproof t-shirt, and jerked me back and forth, let go, and then pushed me into the wall behind where the cars are," said Speed, who has been replaced at Toro Rosso by Sebastian Vettel for the remaining part of the season.

Tost, however, has refuted Speed's claims, saying he did not grab him by the neck, and adding that the American had been very critical of the team after his pitstop was delayed following torrential rain at the Nurburgring.

Speed retired from the race after spinning out when the downpour hit the track.

Tost said he had grabbed Speed by the shoulder, and admitted he later apologised to the driver.

"When Scott came to the pit wall after going off the track, he complained about the very bad performance of the team because of the delay he suffered during the pitstop," Tost told Autosprint magazine in an interview.

"By contrast, I firstly asked him why he went off, then I tried to explain to him that he was the one who actually caused the chaos, but he didn't listen to me. He carried on wanting to know why the team took so long to change his tyres when he came into the pits.

"It seemed like that was his only worry, while mine is, most of all, that the team are not put in doubt and their job not denigrated.

"There was a reason why the pitstop lasted that long: in his in lap Scott overtook our other car - that of Vitantonio Liuzzi - in the last sector. The GPS fit on our cars did not show that Scott had overtaken Tonio,  cutting through the chicane, just before entering the pitlane. [The GPS] maybe didn't have enough time to catch the move.

"The team there, who were expecting to see Tonio coming, were left dumbfounded and were unprepared. Scott overtook his teammate by avoiding the chicane and I think he would have had to give back the position to avoid a penalty, if he stayed in the race.

"That's why I got upset: I was annoyed by his attitude, by the fact that his only worry seemed to blame the team. I mean, he went off the track, he made a mistake: I make mistakes every day as well, that's not the problem. But I can't tolerate that he casts a cloud over the work of the team.

"That's why, when he turned around to leave, I followed him and grabbed him by the shoulder. 'While I'm talking to you,' I said, 'you can't leave like this.' I deny having grabbed him by the neck, while it's true that, once I had calmed down, I apologized to him."

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