AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda apologised to his team on Saturday after yet another qualifying crash, his third in seven races.
The Japanese rookie spun at Turn 1 during qualifying for the French Grand Prix, impacting the barriers with the rear of his car, causing minor damage to the rear-wing. However he was then unable to engage a gear, leading to fears his gearbox may have been damaged in the crash.
His car juddered violently as it headed toward the barriers, with suggestions this may have damaged the gearbox.
“It was my mistake today in qualifying and I want to apologise to the team. I just used too much of the yellow kerb at Turn 1 and I spun out,” said Tsunoda.
“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 a fairly low [speed] impact, but there is some damage to the car so the team will have to work hard tonight to get me ready for tomorrow.”
Tsunoda has previously crashed in Imola and then in Azerbaijan after making it through to Q3.
However he wasn’t the only driver to hit the Paul Ricard barriers after Mick Schumacher made a similar error, with his gearbox also taking a hefty impact.
“We had a car that was very good, had very good potential and it felt very good to drive,” said Schumacher after making it through to Q2 for the first time. “That reflects in the position that we’re in right now.”
Explaining his crash, he added: “It was partially because I had a very good exit out of turn five into turn six, basically I carried a bit more speed through and seems like the wind conditions had changed a bit also in that particular moment and all of those things combined basically equalled in the rear snapping.
“Therefore it was very hard for me to react to it. Looking back at it, obviously you can always think I could have done something better. And when after the car already spun, you can always try and manage it in some ways. But to be fair, I think things happen so quickly, especially at those speeds, that it’s very hard to judge where the wall is and what to do in what moment.”