Tsunoda surprised AlphaTauri handed him new F1 contract

Yuki Tsunoda has admitted that he was surprised AlphaTauri decided to keep him on for a second season in Formula 1.

Tsunoda surprised AlphaTauri handed him new F1 contract

The Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri squad announced earlier this week that it would be retaining the same driver line-up of Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly for 2022.

But after a rookie campaign for Tsunoda that has been blighted by a number of crashes, the young Japanese racer was aware of the risk that his bosses could lose faith in him.

Speaking ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, Tsunoda said: "To be honest, my first half of the season was quite inconsistent.

"From my side I was a bit surprised I'll be staying next year. So first of all, thanks for the team."

Pushed on why he was surprised by AlphaTauri's decision, Tsunoda singled out the high number of mistakes he had made throughout the season.

"I kept crashing and spend [cost] a lot of money for the team," he said. "I was not on a good way to end the first half of the season, especially in Hungary when I went to the wall in FP1 and ruined a whole session, almost two sessions.

"For Franz [Tost, team boss] and Helmut [Marko from Red Bull], you need a more consistent result and more driving, and also discipline in the sessions. I couldn't improve through the first half of the season, and that's why."

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Tsunoda emerged from an impressive debut outing in Bahrain being hailed by F1 director of motorsport Ross Brawn as the championship's best rookie for years.

But his reputation took a battering in the wake of a number of crashes, including high-profile errors in qualifying at Imola and Paul Ricard.

Reflecting on his approach to the season, Tsunoda admitted that his confidence had suffered after his early campaign woes.

"I didn't know what was going to happen at the first F1 race and I just fully sent it almost every session," he said. "At that point, I felt very good, and I was feeling I was driving very well at that point.

"I think from Imola, especially after qualifying, I lost maybe a little bit of confidence. I kept doing mistakes every time so I reset: building confidence.

"I didn't expect it to be that difficult in F1, because even in junior categories, if I had a massive slap or went into the wall, I never lost this much confidence. So that's one main issue. That's why I'm building up and trying to have more consistent laps, and consistent sessions.

"And also at the beginning of the season, expectations were too high. And that's why I think the first race went well. But after that it was just getting confusing each session and each race week, and that made it spiral."

shares
comments
Verstappen unsure Red Bull gains "enough to fight" Mercedes at Monza
Previous article

Verstappen unsure Red Bull gains "enough to fight" Mercedes at Monza

Next article

Russell: Mercedes made clear I’ll get same treatment as Hamilton

Russell: Mercedes made clear I’ll get same treatment as Hamilton
Load comments
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021