The accusations on social media were sparked by the virtual safety machine favoring the race that followed Tsunoda’s retirement. Max Verstappen at the expense of Mercedes the driver Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

As a result, Red Bull’s head of strategy, Hanna Schmitz, became a victim of online violence.

The drama began when Tsunoda, coming out of his pit stop, suspected that the wheel had been attached incorrectly.

His engineer told him to pull over on the track, and having done so, he turned off the engine and prepared to leave the car.

However, team reports suggest the pit stop went as planned and the wheels were securely fixed, so he was told to restart and go to the pits where he could get a new set of tyres.

When he stopped on the track, he loosened his seat belts as he prepared to exit and had to be tightened again at an additional stop, costing him time and attracting the attention of the stewards.

As soon as he left the pit box, Tsunoda reported that he was still experiencing the same problem, suggesting that it might be related to the car’s differential. He was told to continue exiting the pit lane to keep the exit clear and find a safe place to park before turning off and exiting the car.

The ensuing VSC allowed leader Verstappen to make a cheap second stop for fresh tyres. Meanwhile, Hamilton and Russell lost the lead they would have expected if the race had been run under normal conditions, and they raced to the flag as planned without the need for a second stop.

Hanna Schmitz, Chief Strategy Engineer, Red Bull Racing

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

While the entire episode looked strange on television, at the time a review of the on-board recordings and radio communications confirmed that it was a simple case of the team and driver not knowing what had gone wrong and reacting to the unusual circumstances as best they could.

The FIA ​​stewards looked into it immediately after the race and the only thing they did was reprimand Tsunoda for driving with a loose seatbelt.

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However, speculation about collusion between Red Bull and Alpha Tauri teams quickly took to social media with abuse directed at Schmitz.

AlphaTauri responded Monday with a statement denying the theories and defending Schmitz.

“It is incredibly sad to read some of the expressions and comments directed at our team and Red Bull Racing Chief Strategy Officer Hannah Schmitz,” the statement said.

“Such hateful behavior cannot be tolerated and allegations of foul play are unacceptable, untrue and completely disrespectful to both Hannah and us.

“We have always competed independently, fairly and with the highest level of respect and sportsmanship.

“Yuki had a setback that the team didn’t immediately discover that caused him to stop in his tracks. To suggest something else is insulting and categorically incorrect.”

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