Tsunoda explains early DRS use at Bahrain F1 test

Yuki Tsunoda has explained the background behind the early deployment of DRS during Formula 1’s pre-season testing in Bahrain that helped boost his pace.

Tsunoda explains early DRS use at Bahrain F1 test
Listen to this article

The AlphaTauri driver impressed with the second fastest time of the test on the final day, putting in a lap that was just 0.093 seconds off Max Verstappen’s benchmark effort.

But eagle eyed observers and rival teams had spotted that Tsunoda’s performance was lifted by him using his DRS much earlier than normal - handing him a lap time and straightline speed advantage over everyone else.

The official DRS zone in Bahrain starts 170 metres from the exit of the final corner, but Tsunoda had his rear wing open well before that.

Reflecting on why that was, Tsunoda said that the management of the DRS system changed on the final day – meaning it was active outside of the official zone.

So while on the previous days him pushing the button early would not have activated DRS outside the zone, on the final day it did.

Read Also:

Speaking ahead of the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Tsunoda said: “Usually, even in testing, just like in the race, you shouldn’t be able to use it [DRS] without crossing the activation line. But in my case, I was able to use it, and I was thinking maybe the session was set up that way.

"I didn’t open it early just to get a time, I didn’t have any bad intentions. But if you are able to use it, you might as well use it, right? Also, I assumed it wasn’t just me and that other drivers were doing the same thing.

"Saying that, I only used it about 50m early, and in terms of lap time I think it was worth only two or three tenths. It wasn’t a big difference like six or seven tenths of a second. It doesn’t change the fact I used it early though…”

Even without the DRS boost, AlphaTauri had an encouraging test, with its new AT02 showing itself to be quick and reliable over the three days.

But Tsunoda thinks the car could actually be too well balanced, which makes it hard to get the front turned in as aggressively as he would like.

"In terms of whether [the car] is easy or hard to drive, the AT02 is too stable and it can be difficult to turn properly,” he said.

“The rear grip is too strong, so it makes it hard to get the front turned in. So if you don’t turn in smoothly, the front tyres soon run out of grip and they slide. That’s why we have to turn so smoothly.

"With Verstappen, the car turns properly when the steering angle is big, doesn’t it? I think it’s good to have a car like that, and to some extent it’s easier to do a good time when you have some instability. There are some things like that, so I don’t know yet [the relative performance compared with the Red Bull]."

shares
comments

Related video

2021 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix session timings and preview
Previous article

2021 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix session timings and preview

Next article

F1 teams set for crunch sprint race talks

F1 teams set for crunch sprint race talks
Load comments
Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed Prime

Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed

Mercedes' strong showing in last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix prompted team boss Toto Wolff to say it had halved its deficit to the leaders and its Formula 1 title chances were back on after a rocky start to the 2022 campaign. But a closer inspection of the team's performance suggests its gains aren't as grand as they first appeared

What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy? Prime

What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy?

From the 'pink Mercedes' to the 'Green Red Bull', the Silverstone-based team has received suspicious glares from up and down the Formula 1 paddock over its car design exploits. But after being cleared by the FIA over its Spanish Grand Prix updates amid a backdrop of cries of foul play, what's next in this saga?

Formula 1
May 24, 2022
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

In an unusually hectic Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was denied a dominant performance by his Ferrari engine letting go which allowed Max Verstappen to pick up the pieces. But numerous flashpoints kept the race twisting and turning throughout, with one perfect score from an emerging contender

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain Prime

How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari engine disaster offered an open goal for Max Verstappen and Red Bull to strike, but the reigning Formula 1 world champion still had to solve multiple errors and profit from a begrudged assist from team-mate Sergio Perez, which created an unexpectedly eventful Spanish Grand Prix

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari Prime

Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari

Formula 1's return to Spain on Friday ended with Ferrari leading the way from Mercedes, while Red Bull could only manage third fastest overall courtesy of Max Verstappen. But its chances of victory are far from remote with a deeper dig into the times despite Ferrari's strong start...

Formula 1
May 20, 2022
The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries Prime

The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries

The VW Group’s German superpowers of sportscar racing have all but confirmed they are coming to F1 when the next set of engine rules come into force in 2026. Here's why both manufacturers are all set to take the plunge, and crucially how it might work

Formula 1
May 19, 2022
How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup Prime

How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup

Holding a race in Las Vegas – party central, a city of dreams and decadence and, yes, more than a smattering of tackiness – has been on Liberty Media’s most-wanted list since it acquired Formula 1’s commercial rights. But, as LUKE SMITH explains, F1 has been here before and the relationship didn’t work out

Formula 1
May 18, 2022
Why de Vries' FP1 outing could add a new path to his current crossroads Prime

Why de Vries' FP1 outing could add a new path to his current crossroads

A Formula 2 and Formula E champion, Nyck de Vries is currently considering where his future in motorsport lies. Continuing in WEC and Formula E is possible and he's also courted glances Stateside after impressing in an IndyCar test. But ahead of his Formula 1 FP1 debut with Williams, he could have another option if he impresses...

Formula 1
May 18, 2022