Tsunoda forced to start French GP from pitlane after shunt - The Race
Formula 1

Tsunoda forced to start French GP from pitlane after shunt

Jun 20 2021
By Scott Mitchell

Formula 1 rookie Yuki Tsunoda will start the French Grand Prix from the pitlane because of changes made as a consequence of his qualifying crash, but fellow qualifying shunter Mick Schumacher will avoid a similar fate.

The AlphaTauri driver lost control of his car exiting Turn 1 on his first run in the first part of qualifying.

He was able to restart the car after rear-ending the barrier fairly lightly but was unable to engage first gear and get going again.

Tsunoda was due to start 20th as a result, while team-mate Pierre Gasly qualified sixth.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship French Grand Prix Qualifying Day Paul Ricard, France

But AlphaTauri has had to replace his floor with one a different specification and has also made some suspension changes, which necessitates a pitlane start.

Tsunoda also has a new gearbox, for which the usual five-place grid penalty is now redundant.

The error comes after he had finally ended a point-less streak in which several errors had prompted Red Bull to relocate him from the UK to Italy to be closer to his team.

He had pledged to make it up to AlphaTauri by making up as much ground as possible in the grand prix.

“It was my mistake and I want to apologise to the team,” said Tsunoda after his error.

“I just used too much of the yellow kerb and I spun out. I tried to brake as much as possible to avoid contact with the barrier, but it was like skating on ice as I was going backwards.

“It was fairly low impact, but there is some damage to the car so the team will have to work hard to get me ready.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship French Grand Prix Qualifying Day Paul Ricard, France

“The best way to thank the team would be to have a good race tomorrow.

“It’s difficult to overtake here but I’ll push as hard as I can every lap and use every opportunity I get.”

The Red Bull and AlphaTauri drivers recieved brand-new Honda power units prior to the weekend, as did the Renault-powered Alpine drivers. The Mercedes and Ferrari powered teams changed their engines last time out in Baku.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship French Grand Prix Qualifying Day Paul Ricard, France

Another crash victim in qualifying, Haas’s Mick Schumacher, appears to have avoided any penalty-inducing repairs.

Schumacher avoided Q1 elimination for the first time in his F1 career after setting the 14th-fastest time but that was aided by him crashing on his final run and sparking a red flag, which prevented others from improving.

He did not take part in Q2 as a result of the crash and there was some concern over his gearbox but the team seemed confident it would be OK and there has been no notification of a replacement in the FIA’s declaration of parc ferme issues ahead of the race..

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