AlphaTauri call out 'hateful behaviour' directed at Red Bull strategist for Yuki Tsunda's DNF at Dutch GP
Red Bull Racing's Head of Strategy, Hannah Schmitz, has been the victim of online hate after Yuki Tsunoda's DNF resulted in Lewis Hamilton losing his lead in Sunday's Dutch Grand Prix
Last Updated: 05/09/22 10:50pm
AlphaTauri have released a statement to call out the "hateful behaviour" directed at the team and Red Bull Racing's Head of Strategy, Hannah Schmitz, after Yuki Tsunoda's DNF cost Lewis Hamilton a chance of victory at the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday.
Tsunoda, who drives for Red Bull's sister team AlphaTauri, reported tyre issues and appeared set to retire from the race but was sent back out by his team before eventually stopping again after just four corners.
The Virtual Safety Car was then called and gave Max Verstappen an effective free pit stop to retain his lead - while he later overtook Hamilton after a full Safety Car, with the Mercedes driver eventually finishing fourth.
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The incident prompted raised eyebrows around the paddock, with Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wollf calling for it to be "investigated" and questions were subsequently raised online about whether Red Bull had conspired with Alpha Tauri to help Verstappen claim victory.
Following the online reaction to the incident, AlphaTauri have called out the "hateful behaviour" directed at their team and Red Bull Racing's Head of Strategy, Hannah Schmitz.
In a statement released on social media, the team said: "It is incredibly disheartening to read some of the language and comments directed at our team and towards Red Bull Racing's Head of Strategy, Hannah Schmitz.
"Such hateful behaviour cannot be tolerated, and to entertain accusations of foul play is unacceptable, untrue and completely disrespectful towards both Hannah and us.
"We have always competed independently, fairly and with the highest levels of respect and sportsmanship.
"Yuki had a failure that the team didn't immediately detect which caused him to stop on track.
"To suggest anything different is insulting and categorically incorrect."
Hamilton had earlier supported a message from a fans' group to stop "hateful comments" towards Schmitz.
A statement from TeamLH supporters group posted on Twitter, which was later taken down, was retweeted by Hamilton and said: "We 100 per cent understand that everyone's emotions are high right now.
"No one expected the race to unfold that way when we were so close to a win.
"But it's important to us that we continue to spread love and empathy towards the hardworking teams in the paddock - whether from our team or others - but especially the women.
"The language and hateful comments directed at Red Bull's head of strategy Hannah Schmitz is intolerable and should not be condoned.
"This sport is cut-throat, and you have to be ready for absolutely anything, and that's what she did today.
"There are lots of positives from Lewis's race today, and that's exactly what we are focusing on doing. Thank you for your unwavering support for LH! We win and we lose together."
However, the statement released by the TeamLH supporters group received backlash and therefore the group chose to take the post down and release a second statement on Monday afternoon. That read:
"We understand the statement issued ended up doing more harm than good, and incited comments that are exactly everything that TeamLH stands against - for that, we sincerely apologise.
"We'd like to clarify that we do not condone any form of abusive comments, whether towards Lewis, his team, or fans.
"This was not a generalisation to TeamLH as a whole, and should not be read as such.
"Our priority has been, and will always be, protecting TeamLH."
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