Tsunoda "improving really well" after move to Italy

Franz Tost believes that Yuki Tsunoda is "improving really well" since moving to Italy to be closer to the AlphaTauri team and learning from some Formula 1 rookie season struggles.

Tsunoda "improving really well" after move to Italy

Red Bull and Honda junior Tsunoda impressed on debut in Bahrain at the start of the year by finishing ninth, but went four races without points after struggling in qualifying. A spin in Q1 at the French Grand Prix marked his third qualifying crash in seven races.

Red Bull looked to help Tsunoda's development and focus by moving him from the UK to Faenza in Italy, so he could be closer to AlphaTauri and embed himself more with the team.

Tsunoda said after his qualifying crash at Paul Ricard that he wanted to approach Saturdays differently, and the move paid off in Styria last Sunday as he reached Q3 and finished 10th.

Tsunoda placed fifth in opening practice for the Austrian Grand Prix on Friday at the Red Bull Ring, outpacing teammate Pierre Gasly by one quarter of a second.

Speaking about Tsunoda's development so far this season, AlphaTauri team principal Tost accepted that it would always take time for young drivers to get up to speed.

"Yuki's a rookie, he's new in Formula 1, and believe me, for these young drivers, it's really difficult to come into Formula 1," Tost said. "At every race track, every race weekend, that is the first time they are qualifying there. Of course, you can say yeah, but they did FP1, FP2, FP3, they must know where to go. But for example, the wind is maybe increasing, or coming from another direction, or the track is hotter or colder. So many things are changing.

"You cannot teach this young driver. He has to learn, and every qualifying session, what to do on this track. Therefore experience is so important.

"Yuki is improving really well, the complete process is absolutely in the right direction. He didn't change the approach. He has already beforehand a good approach. But as he is now, much more time with the engineers, because he's living in Faenza.

"I always say that a young driver needs three years to understand this complicated Formula 1, because Formula 1 has become much more complicated than it was years beforehand. I'm very happy with Yuki. He shows a fantastic natural speed, and he's improving day by day, session by session.

"I'm quite optimistic that we will see a very good second half of the season, and that Yuki will also be successful in the future."

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Tsunoda revealed on Thursday that senior Red Bull driver Sergio Perez had been giving him "a lot of advice", exchanging messages that helped motivate him after difficult moments.

"It was always the case in the past that the Red Bull drivers worked together, because they're coming from the same family," Tost said. "But it's really positive if such an experienced driver like Perez is or Max, is taking some advice to the young drivers. This helps enormously.

"They know exactly how to help them and where to advise them in the correct way."

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