Yuki Tsunoda: “I Didn’t Know What I Was Doing” As F1 Rookie
Yuki Tsunoda’s P7 at Imola was AlphaTauri’s best result of the season, and the Japanese drivers’ climb from qualifying received tremendous praise – justifiably – from the F1 community.
Last season, however, Tsunoda spend much of his time clinging on to his seat at AlphaTauri, as his season quickly unravelled after his impressive Bahrain debut.
A series of mistakes, which began in Imola qualifying, saw pressure mount on Tsunoda, whose position as a driver at notoriously Red Bull was always one that would draw scrutiny.
The 21-year old has admitted that his approach last season was never enough to compete effectively at the highest. He told motorsport.com:
“Last year at the same time [this stage last year] I was not fully in control. I didn’t know what I was doing you know”
Tsunoda has been very candid about the difficult adjustment required in Formula 1 but remains grateful for his experiences last season.
“But actually, that made me improve, so that was really good learning as a driver. After that I went to a bad loop, but that makes good learning as well.”
The youngster currently sits ahead of his teammate in the championship, following his considerable points haul at AlphaTauri’s home turf at Imola.
Tsunoda’s start to the season has been reasonable, having experienced a fair share of bad luck (most evidently in Jeddah) as well as fluctuations in performance. Pierre Gasly will be a difficult target to meet throughout the season, but Tsunoda looks far more prepared for this challenge in 2022.
Red Bull’s driver academy isn’t short on young talent, with Liam Lawson and Juri Vips emerging as potential F1 candidates for next season, provided they can secure the results necessary in Formula 2 this year.
Still, Red Bull has shown enough patience to give Tsunoda a chance to establish himself, so now it comes down to performance.
Given that Tsunoda is still younger and less experienced than his teammate, he can give himself a good chance at securing a contract extension if he can stay within touching distance of his French counterpart this year.