Monday, May 27, 2024

Tsunoda Bemoans ‘Very Harsh’ Spanish Penalty for Forcing Zhou Off-Track

Yuki Tsunoda lost out on a top ten finish in the Spanish Grand Prix after the stewards handed him a time penalty for forcing Zhou Guanyu off track, something the Japanese driver disagrees with.

The Scuderia AlphaTauri driver was defending from the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake driver heading down the main straight, with Zhou pulling out to attack around the outside of turn one.  Zhou went through the run-off zone at the turn as a result of the two coming close together, with the stewards deeming that Tsunoda had forced the Chinese driver off the circuit.

Tsunoda was left frustrated by the decision that relegated him from ninth to twelfth in the final results, and he felt he had left enough space on his left side to allow Zhou to run alongside him through the turn.

“I am super disappointed and frustrated,” said Tsunoda.  “I think the penalty I was given for forcing another driver off the track was very harsh but it’s something I have to accept.

“There was little space but still I thought it was enough.”

Despite the disappointment of losing out on points, Tsunoda was happy that AlphaTauri were able to get on top of the braking issues that had affected them in recent races, and they have made progress with the updates they’ve brought to the AT04.

“On a positive side, the team did a fantastic job to improve the brake issues we’ve been having, and to put me in the fight for points the last two race weekends,” he said.  “It shows that the car is improving and the hard work is paying off.

“The weekend is done now, and I am looking ahead to the next race in Canada.”

“Obviously, as a team, we wanted more” – Nyck de Vries

Team-mate Nyck de Vries continues to look for his first top ten finish of the season, with the Dutchman ending the day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya down in fourteenth.

De Vries felt he made a good start but being on the inside heading into turn one left him fighting against cars he believed he should have been ahead of.  He felt he was ‘stuck’ behind them in that first stint, and the delays meant he was unable to fight as high up the field as he was hoping.

“Obviously, as a team, we wanted more,” said de Vries.  “Although I had a good start, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got stuck on the inside, so we lost too many places and then got stuck behind other cars.

“We tried to undercut, but I was struggling to get past which cost me a lot of time. Certain moments of the race were good and the last 25 laps on the medium compound were very competitive, so I think we just need to try and put it together better.”

De Vries felt the weekend in Spain was one of his more competitive outings of the season, and he hopes to build on his increased confidence going into the next phase of the year.

“This weekend has been competitive from the start, so I definitely think we are making progress with the car,” added the Dutchman.  

“Canada will be a different type of track, but I’m confident we can build on our improvements and capitalise on every opportunity.”

Nyck de Vries was stuck in early traffic in Spain and finished only fourteenth – Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images