Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto on Saturday apologized for being offensive by comparing Japanese Formula One driver Yuki Tsunoda’s accident to a tsunami.
AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda was reprimanded five times in 15 races, and eight penalty points on his super driver’s license in the past 12 months. Twelve points in a year trigger an auto racing ban.
“I definitely need to apologize,” Binotto said after being told by a Japanese reporter at the Italian Grand Prix that comments after last weekend’s race in the Netherlands were offensive in Japan.
“It’s a mistake to use that word. I didn’t mean to do anything wrong. I’m so close to the victims that honestly, I realize.
“I think Tsunoda is a great driver, he is a great man and we have a good relationship between the two. We simply called him a simple joke, but It was a bad joke.”
Thousands of people died in Japan when a massive earthquake off the country’s northeast coast in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that swept inland and led to the Fukushima nuclear power plant failure.
Tsunoda was caught up in a Controversy at Zandvoort when he activated a virtual safety car by stopping on the track, an incident eventually gave Red Bull race winner and championship lead the runaway Max Verstappen.
The Japanese first stopped, suspecting the wheel was loose, then returned to the pit before being kicked out again only to come to a halt due to a differential fault.
AlphaTauri is also owned by Red Bull, promoting online abuse and conspiracy theories that have been widely condemned worldwide.
“We had no contact with Red Bull Racing during the race,” AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost insisted to reporters on Saturday.
“Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing don’t need our help. They win on their own and we need each point for ourselves. We were never programmed to stop in the race because Yuki was in a favorable position. advantage to score.
“We were disappointed ourselves. We could have scored and the loss by this margin was quite a surprise. We haven’t had this problem before and therefore I don’t understand its reaction.”