If he made some mistakes during the last Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda still shows an interesting breakthrough for his second season in Formula 1, while in 2021 it had been very complicated.
The Japanese is much closer to his teammate Pierre Gasly this year, both in terms of track performance and championship standings (16 points for Gasly against 11 for Tsunoda).
This beautiful progress has also been welcomed by Jody Egginton, technical director of AlphaTauri, who also sees big changes from last year.
“He is adapting to Formula 1 and, although there has been a change in regulations, his way of driving the car already evolved last year.” Egginton explained for the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“In early 2021, he was getting good results. Everyone said ‘oh, Yuki is great’ then. But, like other rookies before him, he started well before going through a more complicated period.”
“He went through a phase where he had lost confidence, he was questioning himself and wondering about the car. Then, at the end of last year, he turned a corner and understood how to assemble his car. … “.
“His driving has evolved as well and that gives him more setup options. I think it’s now easier to set up Yuki’s car than halfway through last season.”
“At the time, he didn’t know what he wanted and his confidence was affected by his shocks and mistakes. He went through that difficult time but he came out stronger. Now he can say exactly what he expects from the car, which is a good thing. “.
“It’s an important step for any beginner, I’ve seen that in a lot of talented drivers but the races weren’t going the way they wanted: either they were making stupid mistakes or they had a mechanical problem, and ultimately that means they were running out the mileage “.
“I think his journey is no different than many other newcomers, but expectations are higher. We are a solid mid-table team and we have to give results. It’s harder for him than if we were behind the group, he they could slowly learn to be a better driver. “
Advances in communication
Tsunoda is also known for his tendency to call on the radio, and Egginton confirms that the team is learning to deal with it while teaching him how to communicate more effectively.
“We talk about it with him and he takes it into account. But at the time of the heat he uses a certain language that he probably didn’t learn in language school!”
“Engineers take care of that and are always polite and nice to him. We regularly remind him that it’s not the best way to improve the car, but it’s part of it.
“It shows character. Some people may not like what they hear, but we understand what it means. Then, when the summary of the race arrives and the situation is calmer, we say, ‘We understand what you want to explain.’ .but us, but try to find a better way to communicate. “
An F1 race that is just beginning
As their recent mistakes at Silverstone and Montreal show, Tsunoda still has a long way to go. But Egginton reminds us that we are still talking about a very young pilot.
“He was still a relatively new driver and his career is just beginning. He also had to adapt to a new car in his second year and that shouldn’t be a despised thing, for any of these young drivers. “.
“Other drivers came in and drove a car that was an evolution of the previous one, Yuki enters right in the middle of a revolution. Her learning curve is good. It’s not easy, the car is not as competitive as the previous year, so it’s harder for him to prove himself. “
“But now he’s pushing Pierre harder and he’s developing well. He’s on the right track, he’s not a finished product yet. He himself would say: he’s developing well, but he still has a lot of work to do.”
“And we ourselves have a lot to do to develop the car. So far so good. We are who we are and will continue to be so. And we are confident that we can develop well.”