Tsunoda wants to ‘scan the brains’ of conspiracy theorists to ‘see what’s wrong’

2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Yuki Tsunoda said he wants to examine the brains of conspiracy theorists to understand the outlandish reasons which some suggested for his stoppages in the Dutch Grand Prix.

The AlphaTauri driver came to a stop twice on consecutive laps, the last time permanently, when a differential problem developed on his car. At first Tsunoda mistook it for a loose wheel, and returned to the pits to have it checked.

His eventual retirement triggered a Virtual Safety Car period which played into the hands of race leader Max Verstappen, as it allowed him to make a pit stop while losing minimal time. This prompted wild accusations on social media of collusion between Red Bull and its junior team.

“It’s funny that the fans are really excited to always create a story,” said Tsunoda. “It’s just a super-simple fact that there was an issue in the car, there was a differential issue.”

Although the situation was “a little bit confused”, Tsunoda pointed out he was in “a good place to score points” and the idea he’d forfeit it to help Red Bull is “such a crazy, crazy story.”

“I don’t know if Max was driving P1 or P2, whatever, because I don’t care about Red Bull Racing, because I’m just focussing [on my] job,” he added.

Asked if he understood why the circumstances of his retirement from the race provoked such a reaction from some people, Tsunoda said: “First, I don’t want to know and I don’t care.

“I want to actually ask how’s your brain created? How your brain looks like, scan it [with an] MRI and see what is wrong.

“It’s funny how they create the story because it’s simple, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri are completely different teams – well, it’s not complete as a team, but still a different name. We’re in Italy, they’re in the UK. We perform in completely different [ways].”

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2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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48 comments on “Tsunoda wants to ‘scan the brains’ of conspiracy theorists to ‘see what’s wrong’”

  1. Good response.

  2. Enjoyed this response.
    I’m happy to pay for the MRIs of the weirdos on this site who repeated or defended those conspiracies here.

    1. I wouldn’t waste your money. What’s happening in there? Not a lot…

      1. They’d probably assume the machine was broken.

        1. Coventry Climax
          8th September 2022, 19:42

          Or claim the results are manipulated, because, you know, science is just an opinion, right?

          1. science is an opinion What nothose are facts i think you mean what the question is they are searching then the answer can vary but if you aks what is light you get 1 answer which is an proven one and the same everywhere on the planet.

  3. said the driver who was ready to jump off the car, changed his mind and returned to the pits so they could do his seat belt, came back to the track, jumped out of the car and then got a penalty for driving with loose belts.

    a genius in the making.

    1. 1 MRI coming up

    2. He was told to restart and drive dumb@ss.

      Schedule your MRI please.

      1. Save the resources for someone who needs one and having the procedure may actually may help them.

      2. Cris, I don’t think Edvaldo actually supports any of the conspiracy theories – rather, he is pointing out that, if you look at what Tsunoda and Alpha Tauri were doing on a purely objective level, both of them behaved in a pretty silly way.

        Either the team should have told Tsunoda not to bother trying to drive the car back to the pits, or Tsunoda should have told them that he was already getting out of the car and not driven around with undone belts, especially given the FIA have told the drivers that they are going to be stricter on that following the incident with Leclerc in the Spanish GP. The penalty that they’ve picked up, and the resulting grid penalty for the Italian GP, were both easily avoidable.

        Do I believe the conspiracy theories? No – they’re nonsensical. However, do I believe it is fair to point out that both Tsunoda and Alpha Tauri panicked and made multiple embarrassingly bad decisions? Yes, because Tsunoda and his team managed to get themselves penalised by making some easily avoidable mistakes and made themselves look pretty foolish in the process.

        1. Although the situation was “a little bit confused”. He admitted that much himself.

  4. I don’t know… it’s not hard to figure out. I, personally don’t believe that there was any foul play in the race, but it’s easy to see why some might think so. We constantly see team bosses give knowing smiles as they talk about taking any advantage they can get, ‘pushing’ rules until they’re caught. Drivers saying that nothing is more important than winning, and laughing at the idea of ‘the spirit of the rules’. SkyF1 making intimations that some teams may ‘share’ windtunnel info through winks and nods. Then, when something like this happens, everyone throws up their hands and says that people are going too far in their suspicions. Well…. geez F1… how can you act so incredulous when people don’t trust you? You haven’t exactly earned it.

  5. Tsunoda doesn’t come across like the sharpest spoon in the hen house himself…

    1. He speaks much better English than I do Japanese.

      1. He is also a qualified MD, specialising in conspiracy brain imaging techniques

  6. The conspiracies are indeed rather silly, but Alpha Tauri sure feels they have to explain they’re a ‘different’ and ‘independent’ team from Red Bull quite often these days. After all, it’s not like Red Bull decides who drives for Alpha Tauri or which engines they use.

  7. I don’t agree with this idea that anyone who believes it was a conspiracy is insane. Personally, I think it is unlikely that it was a conspiracy, but it is definitely possible. I definitely think there was a problem with Tsunoda’s car that forced him to retire, but it is perfectly possible that the team could see that they were going to have to retire but sent Tsunoda back out anyway because they could benefit Red Bull with absolutely no cost to themselves, and neither Red Bull nor Yuki himself even need necessarily to be involved. Tsunoda shouldn’t have been sent back out at all when he had said there was a differential problem and he was already two laps down, but they sent him out anyway, and once they had confirmed for sure there was a problem he could still have driven back to the pits as he had just done the previous lap, but instead chose to stop and bring out the VSC.

    Either that was because they wanted to check for sure that they couldn’t continue and when they couldn’t it was easier just to stop than risk damaging the car further by driving back to the pits, or they knew they would have to retire anyway once Tsunoda had returned to the pits and decided they might as well do it in a way that would benefit Red Bull. The former is definitely more likely, but the latter is by no means ridiculous.

    1. but it is definitely possible.


      1. we don’t know these people, we don’t know their motives, nothing.

        Verstappen was winning anyway? He’s going to be WDC anyway and doesn’t need this?

        Schumacher didn’t need that win in Austria and they inverted the cars anyway.

        So even if i believe AT didn’t do all those extremely silly mistakes on purpose, what reason i have to believe these people? They are very capable of having done it deriberately. Other people did, why couldn’t they?

        Before cryin around about how people is unfair, why don’t they acknowledge how strange those events were?

        1. Schumacher didn’t need that win in Austria and they inverted the cars anyway.

          But that was only known in hindsight. Back in those days, with 10 points for a win and only 6 for 2nd and 4 for 3rd it was much easier to make up a points gap. Jean Todt also knew they lost out in 1997, in 1998 and in 1999 by a tiny number of points. He was determined not to let that happen again.

    2. You forgot Red Bull wasn’t happy to pit for hards as they were planning togo further and then stop for SOFTS (which they do when Bottas SC) so no to have any suggestion on plotting there must be someone profitting from the ‘planned’ situation and this is not the cause.

    3. I fail to see why they wouldn’t just have him stop on track without calling him in first. far less suspicious and the same outcome. Or do you think they were tracking Max’s tyres and thought it would be better if he changed one lap later?

      1. The original order to limp back to pits was their genuine racing decision. It was kind of silly, with car already switched off and seatbelts undone.

        Whether someone from RBR sent them a friendly reminder, that they do not appreciate this decision, will never be known. That only needs two people and a secure communication channel. At least they feared their a-team wont be happy with them, avoiding a VSC which would give Max a stop while keeping P1.

        Its the only reasonable cause for the decision to send Tsunoda back out, with a broken car and no hope for any points, just risking further damages. Collecting further data or hoping for points are laughable excuses.

        Yuki and those who decided to send him out again do a lie-detection test, and I happily do the requested MRI.

  8. Million dollar car with all sorts of sensors on it, team of people staring at computer screens with all sorts of telemetry data, pit crew jacking the car up and changing the tires, driver complaining about the car, parks it once, then drives around track to pit slowly, and with all that money spent, people employed, no one realized the car couldn’t make it around the track when they sent it back out. How can anyone question that a F1 team couldn’t detect that a part of the car was actually broken???

    1. that’s what bothers me the most. They can say if a tyre is losing pressure, but don’t know if the diff is broken even after the driver told them so?

    2. How can anyone question that a F1 team couldn’t detect that a part of the car was actually broken???

      Maybe they employ ex-Ferrari staff?

    3. The differtial is something which can detected broken UNTILL you put power on it then they can detect power difference between the 2 rears. Problem is Yuki thought it was a tyre fitted wrong as it feels the same and they were checking the wrong things checking if the tyres were put on correctly so whne he came out for the second time with the same problem they checked the rear beter seeing the different and race over.

      You could blame Yuki as he reconish or relay not correctly the problem which caused the problem.

      1. @macleod when Tsunoda restarted the car and began driving back to the pits, he told the team that it felt like the differential was broken. Therefore, whilst Tsunoda initially thought that the tyre was not fitted correctly, he corrected that earlier mistake and was then telling the team over the radio that the differential was probably broken before he returned to the pits.

        However, it does seem that the team weren’t paying attention to what Tsunoda was saying at that point – so, although you might initially criticise Tsunoda, the team really should have been checking for a differential issue once Tsunoda reported later on his lap back to the pits that there might be a differential problem and should take the blame for the subsequent mistakes.

  9. Even though i acknowledge the possibility of most general conspiracy theories, this one is way out there…
    I’m a bigger fan of Tsunoda after that great comment of his….

  10. Flavio Briatore
    8th September 2022, 21:06

    Well said Tsunoda… it’s never happened before…

  11. Who started the rumour anyway?
    I remember a team principal saying there should be an inquiry into the tactics at the second Red Bull team, because it cost Lewis a win….

    1. That was a team principle replying to a question about a rumour that had been live for over an hour already.

      1. someone or something
        8th September 2022, 23:15

        Quite. So, will you do the MRI?

  12. Won’t work. The tinfoil caps would have to be removed in the MRI.

  13. Yuki was the one who already confirmed in the past, he is driving for Max and trys to block HAM, who drove back to pits pretty slow with seatbelts off, who was sent out with a clearly broken car.

    Its very obvious they tried to help their a-team, although it maybe didnt help, and probably wasnt asked for. It was their clumsy way of trying, with weird decisions in the heat of the moment (maybe caused by their fear of getting some harsh words from their a-team, after they made Yuki resume when he initially already stopped).

    Their over-reaction now also is kind of the aggressive protest of someone, knowing to be guilty, and trying all the more strongy to deny it.

    BTW: Driving an F1 car without seatbelts and in very slow speed nearly a full lap at Zandvoort imho qualifys for an MRI scan. Not the safest thing to do, and I really wonder (already wondered at LEC back then) that FIA doesnt act stronger on that, given their usual high attention of safety matters in the last years.

    1. someone or something
      8th September 2022, 23:19

      Do it. For science.

  14. Tsunoda is still young. I don’t think he comprehends the money involved, or the value of winning the F1 championships. F1 teams will stop at nothing to win.

    An F1 driver is not a king, they don’t know everything. A pawn and nothing more.

  15. The conspiracies are just silly. I’ll never like the idea of a team effectively having four drivers on the grid while all the other teams have two, but the level of cheatiness needed for what would have been an entirely unnecessary bit of race manipulation (look how far ahead Verstappen is… even if he was on to lose the win, and I don’t think he was, he’d only have got seven fewer points and would still have extended his lead) makes the conspiracy idea a non-starter.

    Only real question this episode actually raises is how the driver could tell something was clearly wrong to the extent that he parked the car and was about to get out… while an entire garage, and back-home control room, filled with extremely intelligent, experienced people with access to massive quantities of data about every tiny little thing the car was doing, thought everything was fine and dandy.

    And not just a ‘drive back to the pits and park it’ something wrong, but a ‘stop stop stop’ something wrong.

    1. Some teams are jusy greedy, remember what mercedes did in 2019? They couldn’t let vettel win on track in canada, they had to protest, despite winning every single race before.

    2. A stop stop is on parts like gearbox and engine which if continued the team costs a lot of money and the driver penaulties that why.
      A Differtial is simple thing if it still turns no red signals so when the car was dropped a part which controls the powerdistribution between the rear tyres broke down.

  16. He’s got some nerve to even suggest that! Especially with the history his team and he himself has about helping red bull.

  17. I don’t think it was a conspiracy, but it’s not impossible either. would anyone have believed Crashgate before Picquet blew the whistle? yes Max is way ahead in the championship but Alonso & Renault weren’t even fighting for the championship and Flavio still had the race manipulated…

    1. Crashgate was allready fishy as only 1 person profitted from it. The problem was too prove it so when Piquet came to the FIA they had proof and both cheaters were banned for life from the F1 paddock. ( i know a extern source reverse it but they should ignore it and ban the cheater.

  18. Both parties (foilheads/RB family) has their agendas. Of course they want to defend themselves. The truth is somewhere between and if the case is like Tsunoda says it’s not 100% correct. They helped Red Bull but it was an unfortunate thing. But if there is one team which will help Red Bull, Alpha Tauri is n.1 on that list.

  19. While you’re at it, scan the brains of anyone still supporting the criminal Trump. There’s definitely something wrong with them.

  20. You (many commenters on this site) cannot have it both ways. Either the teams are managed by experts in racing and are some much smarter than commenters on this site OR the teams are managed by people who have a job with a team because they were in the right place at the right time and may not be smarter than some commenters on this site.
    Because in this case, the “experts” running the team failed to determine that their car was broken before sending it back on the track.

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