Yuki Tsunoda says his debut season in Formula 1 has been the toughest year of his motorsport career. The AlphaTauri driver has struggled with his form throughout the campaign.
Tsunoda started his career in the royal class very strong. During the test days he set the second time, with only Max Verstappen in front of him. He also scored points during his debut race, after which expectations were high. This happened both times in Bahrain, a circuit the 21-year-old Japanese had come to know in Formula 2. However, as the circus moved on to Imola, difficulties started to crop up.
In Italy, Tsunoda crashed during qualifying and spun during the race. He continued to make mistakes throughout the season, although he showed some strong performances again towards the end of the year. In an interview with GPFans at the end of December, he looked back: “It was an important learning year and also the hardest and most difficult of my career in terms of how I had to improve. When you make the step up to Formula 1, most of the topics are almost solved, but there are some things you need to improve on. Those are the topics I never think about.”
hit and miss
Over the entire season, Tsunoda had to lose a lot of weight to his – more experienced – teammate Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman finished in ninth place with 110 points. Tsunoda had to make do with 33 points and a fourteenth place. He scored points in seven races, Gasly only missed seven times. “It was difficult to find the answer and improve myself as well. This was definitely the hardest year in terms of learning.” Tsunoda will also drive for AlphaTauri next season.