AlphaTauri is forced to release a statement as they are disappointed with the social media call out against them and Hannah Schmitz after F1 Dutch GP.
Amid a straightforward F1 Dutch GP at Zandvoort, people on social media kick-started a ‘conspiracy theory’ where the argument was that AlphaTauri and Red Bull worked together to cause the Virtual Safety Car period to help Max Verstappen win the race.
The situation at one point became where Mercedes were 1-2 with Lewis Hamilton leading George Russell and Verstappen had to overtake both of them to win the grand prix. But post Yuki Tsunoda’s pit stop, the Japanese complained of a tyre problem.
He felt the tyres were not fitted properly and decided to retire, but the team asked him to pit as they saw the tyres were fine. By that time, he unbuckled himself for which the FIA reprimanded him. And he is most likely to get a 10-place penalty at Monza.
Tsunoda pitted where the team changed the tyres and fitted the belt again, but Tsunoda still continued to complain of a problem at the rear end. The AlphaTauri engineers couldn’t readily detect the problem, but eventually asked him to stop at a safe place.
This double stoppages along with a safety car for Valtteri Bottas allowed Verstappen to have the right tyre for the last stint. In fact, Mercedes’ George Russell and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc switched to softs as well, with only Lewis Hamilton on mediums.
This played in the hands of all three as Verstappen took the win ahead of Russell and Leclerc, with Hamilton in fourth. The Brit was naturally livid as social media kick-started theories of a collusion between the two Red Bull-related teams to defeat him.
Some accounts also targeted Red Bull’s strategist Schmitz who was shown smiling after Verstappen found himself in a favourable position – indicating success of the ‘plan’. AlphaTauri took to social media to clear the air as they pointed out their disappointment.
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) September 5, 2022
Meanwhile, post-race Tsunoda was clear that there was a problem even though the team couldn’t detect it initially. “For me it was quite clear, especially at the rear,” he said to media at Zandvoort. “That’s why I got told from my engineer to stop. We fitted a new tyre again and I confirmed that the same thing’s happening.
“I thought first it was just wheelspin happening because it was the hard tyre – that’s why it was low grip. But I felt a clear issue that something was going on with that rear part and the engineers confirmed there was an issue – that’s why we stopped. I was like drifting on the straight. I was doing counter-steering on the straight. So that’s why I didn’t feel like it’s normal.”
The problem is currently under investigation as per AlphaTauri chief engineer Claudio Balestri. “After the pit stop he reported something strange at the rear of the car, we called him in again to change the tyres and immediately after we had a car failure. This is currently under investigation within the team,” he said.
Here’s Lewis Hamilton on his frustrations