Tsunoda fined for offensive comment in GP qualifying

Yuki Tsunoda sits with his hands behind his head during a press conference
Yuki Tsunoda during a Formula 1 drivers' press conference [EPA]

Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda has been fined 40,000 euros (£33,900) for using an offensive comment about a rival in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old RB driver used an expletive and a slur against disabled people towards Sauber's Zhou Guanyu over the team radio, which meant he was hauled before race stewards.

Tsunoda, who believed he was obstructed in the pit lane, told them he did not realise what the term meant as English was not his first language and that he was "horrified" when he found out.

"During the hearing the driver was very apologetic," read a statement by Formula 1's governing body, the FIA.

"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."

The stewards took into account "the genuine remorse of the driver and his offer to issue a public apology" and suspended half of Tsunoda's fine until the end of the season.

Tsunoda, who is 10th in the drivers' standings, will start Sunday's race in 14th position.