Mercedes boss calls for Tsunoda investigation after Dutch GP retirement

Mercedes boss calls for Tsunoda investigation after Dutch GP retirement

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has demanded a further investigation into the circumstances behind Yuki Tsunoda’s decision to pull out of the Dutch Grand Prix for safety reasons.

This comes as the AlphaTauri driver originally stopped to complain about a loose wheel on lap 45, barely after leaving the pits.

Tsunoda, however, returned to the track at a slow speed when his engineers confirmed that the wheel was securely fastened, after having remained still for more than 30 seconds and having unbuckled his seatbelts.

The team replaced the tires once more, refastened Tsunoda’s seatbelts, and checked the vehicle upon returning to the pits. However, after just four corners of his out-lap, the Japanese driver stopped and announced his retirement.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was able to make a pit stop during the next virtual safety car period, overtaking Lewis Hamilton, which sparked a variety of conspiracy theories that AlphaTauri deemed “insulting.”

Tsunoda received a non-driving reprimand for the incident, but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff claimed the AlphaTauri driver ought to be investigated further after the race.

“I am so focused looking at us at the moment in terms of where we need to find performance,” Wolff said. “If we were to fight for the championship, that would be something I would closely look at.”

“Now what I think needs to be investigated for the safety of drivers and everybody out there is the driver stopped, unbuckled, did a full lap, came in, the problem wasn’t solved then they put the seatbelts back in and he drove out and stopped the car again.”

“That probably has changed the outcome of the race that maybe we could have won but in this sport, maybe or not, it is irrelevant. For me, I am not thinking about that anymore, it is gone.”

Verstappen pitted under green flag conditions, which would have allowed Hamilton and teammate George Russell to switch to a one-stop strategy and take the lead.

Wolff clarified whether predictions indicated that the seven-time champion had a chance of earning his first triumph of the year.

“The simulations said Max would have come out eight seconds behind us with 20 laps to go but it was obviously… he would have probably pitted on the hard at that time and I think we would have had a fair shot at winning the race.”

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