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Formula 1 Austrian GP

FIA looking into Tsunoda F1 outburst over potential ableist slur

Tsunoda summoned by the stewards after outburst during Austrian GP qualifying

Yuki Tsunoda, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team

Yuki Tsunoda, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

RB Formula 1 driver Yuki Tsunoda is being investigated over team radio comments he made in the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix qualifying which appeared to include an ableist slur.

At the end of Q1 in Austria on Saturday Tsunoda appeared to say, "These guys are f***ing retards," after being overtaken in the pitlane by Zhou Guanyu, as Tsunoda queued in the fast lane and the Sauber driver was waved out by a mechanic.

The incident was spotted by fans on social media and the matter has been reported to FIA officials.

They are now assessing if it should be referred to the stewards, in a similar manner to how an on-track clash is first noted and assessed by race control before the matter is referred to event stewards.

The rule in question is Article 12.2.1.f of the FIA's International Sporting Code.

This states that a competitor will be deemed to be in breach of the rules if there are "any words, deeds or writings that have caused moral injury or loss to the FIA, its bodies, its members or its executive officers, and more generally on the interest of motorsport and on the values defended by the FIA".

ISC Article 12.2.1.m – which covers "any public incitement to violence or hatred" – may also apply to this situation.

At the end of the 2023 season, Mercedes and Ferrari team bosses Toto Wolff and Frederic Vasseur were given formal warnings under Article 12.2.1.f by the FIA for swearing during the official FIA press conference for team principals during the Las Vegas GP.

The incident involving Tsunoda evokes memories of Max Verstappen calling Lance Stroll a "retard" and a "mongol" over his team radio following their practice for the 2020 Portuguese GP.

Verstappen later said "I don't say that the words I chose were the right ones" and that he "never intended to offend anyone", but did not provide a full apology. The Red Bull driver was not sanctioned by the FIA or his team over the matter.

Tsunoda and an RB team representative have been summoned to appear before the Austrian GP stewards at 8pm local time at the Red Bull Ring.

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