Tost: Tsunoda must do better job this year in F1

The Japanese driver is entering his third year with AlphaTauri, but is coming off the back of a fairly disappointing 2022 campaign where he finished in the top ten just four times.

His tally of 12 points left him down in 17th in the overall standings, and it is clear that Tost feels the youngster needs to lift his game in 2023.

Speaking as AlphaTauri unveiled the livery of its new car at an event in New York on Saturday night, Tost set some clear targets for Tsunoda.

“Last year, Yuki struggled with the car,” said Tost. “This year, as I expect we will have quite a competitive car, Yuki must always aim to be in Qualifying 3 and finish the races in the points.

“He is a very highly-skilled driver and now has a lot of experience with two seasons in Formula 1. For this reason, of course, he has to score many more points than he did last year.”

While Tsunoda had a more troubled time in 2022 that his rookie 2021 campaign, he reckons that he has improved as a driver and is ready to make the most of a potential uplift in form from AlphaTauri.

“I’m at a completely different level now, although I have still kept the good aspects of my first year,” he said.

“But now, I am definitely more in control, more involved with the team when it comes to the development of the car.

“I also act differently, having learned lots of things, not just when it comes to racing but also in my life away from the track. Even that has a positive effect in how I race. I had underestimated what was involved, but now I’ve figured out the things that are really important.”

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Asked about his personal targets for 2023, he said: “My main goal is to perform more consistently in every race, independently from the car’s performance, and to score points more consistently.

“I want to be more in control of myself at all times, work well with the team, understand the car as quickly as possible, right from the first race in Bahrain. I want this year to be my best performance of the three years in terms of getting to Q3 and scoring points.”

While Tost has urged Tsunoda to lift his game, he has no doubts that new driver Nyck de Vries will shine for the squad after being drafted in to replace Pierre Gasly.

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Speaking about his hopes for the Dutchman, Tost said: “He has a great deal of racing experience, winning races and championships in many of the categories that he took part in. Therefore, I’m quite sure that he will be able to deliver good results soon in the season then to be finishing in the points in the races.

“Nyck is technically very highly-skilled and focused. When driving our car at the Abu Dhabi Young Driver test at the end of last season, he already gave the engineers good technical feedback.

“I think that he will immediately understand the new car. He will get familiar with it quickly and his feedback will be useful because, as I said before, he understands the technical challenges that Formula 1 cars present. I believe he is one of the most adept drivers in terms of technical understanding of the car.”

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