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Gasly: Time will tell if “friend” Tsunoda can lead AlphaTauri F1 team

Pierre Gasly thinks it too early to know whether or not current Formula 1 team-mate Yuki Tsunoda has what it takes to lead AlphaTauri next year.

Yuki Tsunoda, Scuderia AlphaTauri, Pierre Gasly, Scuderia AlphaTauri

The Frenchman is leaving the Faenza-based squad at the end of the season to join Alpine for 2023, and is being replaced by rookie Nyck de Vries.

PLUS: Why Red Bull freedom and an Alpine switch can define Gasly's F1 career

But having built up a good friendship with Tsunoda during their two years together, he is hopeful that the Japanese youngster can overcome his weaknesses and prove himself a strong asset going forward.

Asked in Mexico if he felt Tsunoda has what it takes to be team leader, Gasly said: “I think only time will tell whether he's got what it takes to lead the team.

“His path to F1 was kind of fast forward. He went F4/F3/F2, and straight to F1 at quite a young age, with not so much experience. So I think only time will tell.

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“But for sure he is improved massively this year. [I would] not be surprised to see him improving again next season.

“I think he knows what he needs to work on, a bit of self-control. But yeah, he knows that and I mean he's got good people around him and I think this environment is also good for him to really develop as a better driver.” 

While Gasly is heading for new pastures, he reckons that he will continue to remain in touch with Tsunoda.

“He doesn't live that far from my house in Milan so I'm sure we will get some more time off season to catch up,” he explained.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“There is no bullshit with Yuki and that's one thing I really appreciate, everything which goes through his mind is out of his mouth in a flash of light.

“He is a very unique character, he's got a great sense of humour, no filter, which can be quite surprising at times. He's a great human being.

“I really enjoyed these last two years, also seeing him evolve within the team, also as a person I think he has developed quite a lot, and definitely someone I appreciate and I happily call a friend."

Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov.

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