Formula 1

Yuki Tsunoda’s 2024 F1 Challenges Intensify with Saudi GP Penalty

After a difficult start to the 2024 Formula 1 season, Yuki Tsunoda faced additional setbacks during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as he was penalized for an unsafe release from the garage. This latest incident adds to the Japanese driver’s string of disappointments in the new racing year.

Key Takeaways:

  • Yuki Tsunoda’s early season struggles continued with a five-second penalty at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to an unsafe release from the garage, compounding his challenges in the 2024 F1 season.
  • VCARB, Red Bull’s junior team, is experiencing a contrasting fate compared to its parent team, with Tsunoda and teammate Daniel Ricciardo finishing P15 and P16 respectively in Jeddah, failing to score points.
  • Despite the incident, Tsunoda was spared a super license penalty point, as stewards decided against imposing this additional sanction after considering the circumstances surrounding the unsafe release.

VCARB, affiliated with the dominant Red Bull team, has not mirrored the success of its parent team in the 2024 season. While Red Bull secured top finishes in the opening races, VCARB struggled, highlighted by Tsunoda’s and Ricciardo’s low finishes in Jeddah. Daniel Ricciardo, involved in a previous on-track altercation with Tsunoda in Bahrain due to team orders, ended the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix one position behind Tsunoda, indicating ongoing challenges within the team.

The incident for which Tsunoda was penalized occurred during the pre-race phase. As per the stewards’ report:

“The stewards reviewed video, team radio and in-car video evidence and heard from the drivers and team representatives of Car 22 and Car 4 and determined that Car 22 was released unsafely from the garage during the reconnaissance lap into the path of Car 4 which had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

“The driver of Car 22 admitted that he did not see the Number 1 in his team signalling not to come out as his attention was diverted towards exiting the car from the garage. He apologised for his oversight.

“An unsafe release during the race (which would include the reconnaissance lap) would typically attract a five-second time penalty, which is what we imposed. In addition, for an infringement of this nature, it would be appropriate to award one penalty point.

“Given that this took place during the reconnaissance lap as opposed to the race proper, we decided to not impose the penalty point.”

Tsunoda’s escape from a super license penalty point offers a small consolation in an otherwise challenging scenario. With VCARB facing difficulties in scoring and internal dynamics at play, the Japanese driver’s season is shaping up to be a test of resilience and adaptability in the competitive world of Formula 1.

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