Red Bull and Scuderia AlphaTauri have been accused of cheating to help Max Verstappen win the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix.
The Dutchman had lost the lead of the race after starting from pole position, but a DNF for Yuki Tsuonda brought out a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) which allowed Verstappen to get a cheap pit-stop.
However, the Japanese driver’s retirement raised eyebrows, as he reported that one of his wheels were loose and stopped on track.
But, his race engineer then ordered him to return to the pits after denying there was an issue with the car.
Tsunoda was then told to exit the pit-lane, only to stop on track again and this time trigger a VSC, which ultimately benefitted Verstappen.
“Stop, stop. Stop in a safe place. Go out, go out, pit exit, and stop in a safe place,” the Japanese driver’s race engineer said on the radio.
After this radio communication emerged, many F1 fans were quick to suggest that this “confirms” Red Bull worked with their sister team to help Verstappen win his home race.
Some suggested that AlphaTauri deliberately made Tsunoda retire to bring out the Safety Car, while others claimed that they made him exit the pit-lane to ensure it wouldn’t be closed so Verstappen could pit.
However, not everyone was in agreement, with some pointing out it wouldn’t make sense for Red Bull to risk a “Crashgate” scandal with Verstappen already comfortably leading the championship and looking almost certain to defend his maiden Formula 1 title.
Verstappen has now extended his lead at the top of the championship to 109 points, with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez in joint second on 201 points (while the Dutchman has a points haul of 310.)
Meanwhile, Red Bull now have a 135-point advantage over second-placed Ferrari in the Constructors’ Standings.