Scuderia AlphaTauri fined for Tsunoda unsafe release
By Mat Coch
Sunday 30th April, 2023 - 2:03am
Scuderia AlphaTauri has been fined after officials deemed it was unsafe to release Yuki Tsunoda back into the Azerbaijan Sprint.
The Japanese driver found the wall on the opening lap of the encounter in a bizarre incident at the Turn 13 kink.
The impact broke the right-rear wheel rim and saw Tsunoda limp the car back to the pits without it.
Scuderia AlphaTauri mechanics inspected the car, bolted a new set of tyres, and sent it back out.
However, it became apparent there was damage to the right-rear suspension as the AT23 crabbed its way around the 6-kilometre Baku City Circuit.
The team was referred to the stewards for the unsafe release, with officials duly finding it in breach of the regulations and handing down a €5,000 fine.
“Car 22 had entered the pits after a shunt at Turn 13 of Lap 1 where the right rear tyre had come off and the rim was touching the track,” the stewards outlined.
“The driver had indicated to the team while returning to the pits that the shunt was significant and that he did not think it was possible to continue.
“The team apparently did a visual check on the car, refitted a new tyre and rim and released the car.
“The right rear suspension failed almost immediately after the release and the car had to be driven slowly back to the pits and retired.
“We considered that the team could have done more to check if the car was safe before releasing it.
“The team representative acknowledged that more could have been done.
“In the circumstances, we imposed a €5,000 fine on the team.”
Tsunoda was the only retirement from the Sprint though Logan Sargeant failed to start after he sustained damage following his own clash with the barrier in the Sprint Shootout.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri driver is set to line up eighth for tomorrow’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which begins at 15:00 local time (21:00 AEST).
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