What did Yuki Tsunoda say on the radio during Austrian GP qualifying that later forced an apology out of the F1 star?

F1 Grand Prix of Austria - SprintYuki Tsunoda prepares to drive on the grid during the Sprint ahead of the 2024 F1 Austrian Grand Prix. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Yuki Tsunoda recently made an extremely strong and angry comment on his team radio during the Austrian GP qualifying. This forced the FIA to take action against the Japanese driver. He also had to apologize to the F1 fanbase on his official social media handles.

During the first qualifying session at the 2024 F1 Austrian GP on Saturday, Yuki Tsunoda was getting out of the pits to set his fastest lap. However, when he was driving down the pit lane, Sauber’s pit crew cleared their driver, Zhou Guanyu to get out of the garage at the same time. As a result, Zhou obstructed Yuki Tsunoda and drove out in front of him.

This made Yuki Tsunoda extremely angry. He came on the radio and exclaimed:


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“These guys are f**king retarded!”

Since the comment was too strong, the FIA had to step in and investigate the team radio. After the qualifying session, where Tsunoda secured P14, he was called by the race stewards.

Following this, the F1 driver was forced to apologize to the team members and the public for his colorful words on the radio. He explained that he did not know the true meaning of the word that he used and was extremely sorry for saying it.

“Hello, I wanted to say big apologies what I said in the radio today. Obviously I didn’t use it intentionally and was completely misunderstanding from myself that exact meaning of it. I now have better understanding for what the word means and am very apologetic for what I said. This type of language has no place and is not tolerated and for that I am sorry,” he later wrote on his official X account.

Yuki Tsunoda fined €40,000 by the FIA for the use of strong language at the Austrian GP qualifying

After Yuki Tsunoda blasted Sauber’s pit crew on the team radio in Austrian GP qualifying, he was called by the race stewards for an explanation.

The FIA released a statement documenting the entire discussion that took place between them and the driver. The document read that Tsunoda was aware of the blunder and was apologetic about it. He explained that since English is not his first language, he did not know what the word truly meant.

“During Q1 when Car 22 was queuing in the fast lane and another car blended into the fast lane ahead of him, the driver was heard to make a statement over team radio using offensive language,” the statement read.

“During the hearing the driver was very apologetic and explained that because English is not his first language he was unaware until after the session what the meaning of the words used is in the English language. He said that he was horrified when he learned this.”

Despite all this, the FIA had to fine the RB driver €40,000 for breaching Article 12.2.1 k. However, they acknowledged Yuki Tsunoda’s apologetic stance and decided to suspend half the fine on the condition that he would not breach this rule again and say anything strong on the radio during the race sessions. In the end, Tsunoda had to pay €20,000 for his wrongdoings.

“Considering the circumstances, the Stewards determine that a severe fine is required, but also take into account the genuine remorse of the driver and his offer to issue a public apology and for these reasons decide to suspend part of the fine imposed.”

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