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Formula 1 | Tost praises Tsunoda: “Fantastic driver”

While Yuki Tsunoda showed promise in 2021, his rookie season was also marred by various accidents and mistakes, leaving the Japanese youngster clearly overshadowed by teammate Pierre Gasly.

Tsunoda caused a stir with a ninth place on his debut in Bahrain, but then struggled to build on that result. While Gasly consistently scored points to keep AlphaTauri in contention for fifth place in the Constructors Championship, Tsunoda managed just six more top 10 places.

The Japanese himself admitted in his season review: “Until I moved to Italy, I was a lazy bastard.” Mid-season he relocated to Faenza, Italy, home of AlphaTauri, and adopted a more disciplined approach to fight his way out of his early season hole.

Tost: You have to adapt 100 percent

His team boss Franz Tost emphasizes that he never doubted that the highly regarded youngster would still get the curve. But ahead of the 21-year-old’s second season, he also says it’s now up to him to turn his talent into results.

“I can only say that Yuki is a really fantastic driver. Now it’s in his hands what he makes of it, because having talent is a story,” says Tost. “I know a couple of Formula 1 drivers who were really talented but they might have won a race or they might not have won a race at all.”

“You can’t train enough as a Formula 1 driver. Nutrition is very important, you really have to be disciplined. And the whole way of life has to correspond 100 percent to the requirements of Formula 1,” warns the team boss.

Team boss is convinced of Tsunoda’s talent

“It’s in his hands now. We can only give him advice, but then he has to do it himself. And then you’ll see if he can become a real top star. He can do it in terms of driving. Now it’s up to him ‘ Tost looks ahead.

In retrospect, the AlphaTauri team boss classifies Tsunoda’s first year as “a fantastic example” of a rookie season that looked worse than it was, also because he had to face direct comparison with teammate Gasly.

“This year was the first time that a very experienced driver was alongside a rookie. Usually we started with two rookies or a driver with a year’s experience and then the difference wasn’t that obvious,” explains Tost. “What happened to Yuki is very easy to explain.”

Tsunoda took on too much of himself too soon

“He drove a good race (in Bahrain; editor’s note), finished ninth, everything was fantastic. And for me it was clear that a crash was coming soon because Yuki was already driving at the limit. But it’s always the same with young drivers. We tell them, ‘Hey, you’re at the limit’ and I know exactly what Yuki had in mind.”

“After Bahrain he thought – and that’s typical for young drivers – ‘Huh, Formula 1 is not that difficult’,” says Tost, who already saw the consequences coming. Because at Imola, an aggressive Tsunoda retired from both qualifying and the race, followed by further retirements in the subsequent races.

“He was shocked, he lost confidence.” Of course, the question then arises, ‘Am I good enough? Is Formula 1 perhaps too fast for me?’ It’s the same for all drivers, but with Yuki it’s just such a fantastic example.”

“That’s why I say it takes at least three years for a young driver to understand a little bit of Formula 1 because it’s a lot more complex than people think. Next year it’s going to be very different because he has a lot knows more. I’m very confident that we made the right decision.”

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