The trait that has helped Tsunoda shine in F1 so far

AlphaTauri Formula 1 rookie Yuki Tsunoda’s relaxed attitude towards making mistakes is his “big strength” according to former Formula 2 rival Nobuharu Matsushita.

The trait that has helped Tsunoda shine in F1 so far

Honda-backed Tsunoda ended the seven-year wait for a full-time Japanese grand prix driver by securing a seat at AlphaTauri alongside Pierre Gasly for 2021, earning plaudits for his performances in pre-season testing and the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 20-year-old finished ninth in Bahrain to become the first Japanese driver ever to earn points on his debut.

Ex-Honda junior Matsushita, who raced against Tsunoda in F2 last year as the latter fought for the title at Carlin, tipped his compatriot to have an “amazing” debut season, highlighting the strong point that allowed him to succeed in the feeder series where he failed.

“I think Tsunoda’s good point is he doesn’t care,” Matsushita told Autosport. “If he makes a mistake, he just moves onto the next one. This is really important.

“Every time you make a mistake, most people think, ‘next time, I cannot make a mistake’. But he just says, ‘I made a mistake, I learned’ and moves on. That’s his big strength.

“AlphaTauri is quite competitive, easily good enough for the top 10, so I think he’s going to have an amazing season. And I know how quick Gasly is, I raced with him [in 2015 and 2016] in GP2. Let’s see what Tsunoda can do against him. I’m really excited to see.”

Matsushita also remarked how rapidly Tsunoda progressed since his first season in Europe in 2019, when he undertook dual campaigns in FIA F3 and Euroformula Open.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

“In 2019 he was doing F3 and that was the first time I met him,” said Matsushita. “We did a race together in Euroformula Open [at the Hungaroring]. That time he was not that competitive, did quite a lot of mistakes.

“But I think last year working with Carlin he improved a lot and he became much calmer.

“In qualifying there’s no doubt he can be quick. In the races he was often kind of conservative in the beginning, and then pushing at the end because he still has the tyre.

“In F1 you have to be aggressive immediately from the start. That’s the thing he needs to improve. But I think he can do it.”

Matsushita contrasted Tsunoda’s rapid rise with his own stint in GP2 and F2, which spanned five seasons between 2015 and 2020 and resulted in seven wins and a best championship finish of sixth – which came in 2019 with Carlin.

The 27-year-old added he was relishing the more relaxed atmosphere of SUPER GT after signing as a factory Nissan driver over the winter.

“I was trying to reach F1, and it was just in front of me, especially in 2019 because I was still supported by Honda and I knew if I did a good job then I could have got the seat,” he said.

“The pressure was so high, but I was creating extra pressure for myself. I was thinking, ‘I have to do this, I have to do that.’ It makes you kind of stiff. Last year, I knew it was my last chance, so I had to put absolutely everything on the line. And it was not good.

“I’m much more relaxed here [in SUPER GT] compared to when I was in Europe. Now I don’t need to prove anything. I am just enjoying myself.”

shares
comments

Related video

Vettel currently “not at home” in Aston Martin AMR21 F1 car

Previous article

Vettel currently “not at home” in Aston Martin AMR21 F1 car

Next article

Honda: New F1 engine an aero boost for Red Bull

Honda: New F1 engine an aero boost for Red Bull
Load comments
The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Plus

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Plus

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021