Yuki Tsunoda is facing a grid penalty for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix after picking up his fifth reprimand of the 2022 Formula 1 season.
Tsunoda retired from Sunday’s race at Zandvoort in a bizarre fashion, stopping on the circuit twice.
When Tsunoda came to a halt on track for the first time, he believed there was a terminal issue and unbuckled his seat belt to exit the car.
However, he then drove the car back to the AlphaTauri garage with his belt unfastened, before having his tyres changed and his belt re-tightened.
He then emerged back onto the circuit and came to a halt once more, and the Stewards opted to investigate the matter.
“While after a pit stop of car 22 the driver stopped the car due to the fact that he felt a wheel being not properly fitted, the investigation by the Stewards led to the conclusion, that in fact there was a problem with the differential,” a statement from the Stewards read.
“Therefore the car was not in an unsafe condition when released from its pit stop position.
“However, during the hearing the driver admitted, that after stopping on track he was ready to abandon the car and started to loosen the safety belt, without unlocking it.
“After that he travelled back to the pits where the mechanics re-fastened the belts. It is not possible, to determine exactly to which degree the seatbelt had been loosened by the driver.”
Article 18.2 of F1’s sporting regulations state that “any driver who receives five reprimands in the same Championship will, upon the imposition of the fifth, be given a ten grid place penalty for the race at that Competition”.
The rules regarding grid drops for reprimands were altered this year – in 2021, a driver would’ve been penalised if they received three reprimands, providing two were for driving faults.
Tsunoda’s previous reprimands this year came in Bahrain, Australia and Monaco, with the error from The Netherlands being his first non-driving reprimand of 2022.