AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda has been accused of putting his own success before the team’s after his collision with McLaren driver Oscar Piastri at the Mexican Grand Prix. The Japanese racer has been blasted for ‘throwing away’ the chance to earn Red Bull’s sister team a huge £16.5million ($20million) windfall after his contact with Piastri sent him spinning out, leaving him to finish outside of the points, meaning AlphaTauri now face a close fight in the Constructors’ Championship in the final three races.
Daniel Ricciardo’s impressive drive in Mexico City saw the Australian score his first points of the season, with his seventh-placed finish securing six points for the team. At one stage, Tsunoda was eighth and on course to score an additional four points, but his attempt to pass Piastri to climb up the order cost him dearly.
The 23-year-old ran up the outside of Turn 1 and caught the bodywork of the McLaren as he was sent off onto the grass, losing several positions. It had echoes of Sergio Perez’s daring move on the first lap, which saw the Mexican forced to retire at his home race, but the incident could have now huge ramifications for AlphaTauri.
A double points finish would have put daylight between themselves and rivals Alfa Romeo and Williams in eighth position in the Constructors’ Championship, earning them around £16.5m more than if they finish 10th. But Tsunoda’s late move cost him four points and puts them in a precarious position heading into the final three races, with former Minardi team principal Paul Stoddart scathing in his criticism of the youngster.
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“I really feel sorry for Checo [Perez]. It was the right move, he just didn’t execute it very well. Had he left a little more space, he would have been in the lead coming out of Turn 1,” Stoddart wrote in his Racing365.com column. “I’d like to skip straight to AlphaTauri and, Yuki Tsunoda. What a fool! It was so obvious that he and Oscar Piastri would clash at some point.
“Those four points he threw away for eighth place are so incredibly important to the team. You’re talking roughly about some $20 million difference in prize money between P8 and P10 in the Constructors’ Championship.”
Stoddart ran the Minardi team – now known as AlphaTauri – before selling the financially-strapped outfit to Red Bull in 2005. And the millionaire businessman suggested Tsunoda’s performances are only driven by his personal success, rather than the team’s, as he doubled down on his criticism of the Red Bull academy driver.
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“That’s also the difference between Perez and Tsunoda: Tsunoda short-changed the entire team, whereas Perez only shortchanged himself,” he added.
“It is so obvious that he only fights for his own success, not thinking at all about the team’s interests. They could have taken 10 points together with Daniel Ricciardo’s seventh place, but four of them were thrown away by sheer stupidity.
“And of course, I personally feel extra love for AlphaTauri, since it is my old Minardi team that was taken over by Red Bull. When I finished 10th and last with Minardi in the Constructors’ in 2005, I didn’t think 18 years later that it would continue finishing 10th.
“That is why this result would have been so great and why I am so annoyed with Yuki. He threw away four points that could just equal $20 million and all for nothing, other than impatience and not putting the team first. I’m really, really, really disappointed in him.”
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