Tsunoda apologizes after heavy fine for offensive language

Yuki Tsunoda has apologized for using offensive language on team radio at the Austrian Grand Prix, after being fined heavily by the stewards.

The Japanese driver was unhappy at being stuck behind Zhou Guanyu in the pit lane during Q1 on Saturday, and used an ableist slur over team radio to show his frustration, saying: “These guys are f***ing re****ed”.

The stewards summoned Tsunoda after qualifying and discussed the matter with him, giving him a €40,000 ($43,000) fine – of which half is suspended for the rest of the season – but stating he was “horrified” when he learned what the term meant in English.


“I wanted to say big apologies what I said in the radio,” Tsunoda wrote. “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.”

Tsunoda’s apology was one he had offered to make when discussing the matter with the stewards, who said they were keen to enforce that the language was not acceptable.

“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 stewards’ decision 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. He contended that his understanding of the words was different, but acknowledged that this should not be considered as an excuse for what he did.

“The stewards appreciate the honesty of the driver, but reinforce the fact the words used are offensive and wholly inappropriate. To have used such words over a platform that is available to the public amounted to misconduct as defined in Article 20 of the International Sporting Code.

“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.”

Story originally appeared on Racer