Referring to the amount of accidents Tsunoda has been involved in following his retirement at the Dutch Grand Prix, Binotto labelled Tsunoda as a “tsunami” in an interview with Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Binotto issued an apology for his comment, which caused offence in Japan. The country’s north-eastern coastal communities were devastated by a 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami in 2011, which claimed the lives of nearly 16,000 people.
“Certainly I need to apologise and it was a mistake by using that word,” said Binotto.
“It was no intention to do any anything wrong and very close to the victims which I honestly I realised.
“I think that Tsunoda is a fantastic driver, is a great man and we've got a good relationship between the two [of us]. And that's a way that we simply call him in a way, to… as you said, it's a simple joke, but it's a bad joke.”
Tsunoda has picked up a 10-place grid penalty for this weekend’s grand prix after reaching five reprimands during the 2022 season.
He was issued a further three-place grid penalty after failing to slow for yellow flags during Friday practice, and is now just four penalty points away from a race ban.