Tsunoda already contributing to AlphaTauri F1 car development

Formula 1 rookie Yuki Tsunoda is already making a valuable contribution to AlphaTauri's car development by raising new questions and ideas, according to technical chief Jody Egginton.

Tsunoda already contributing to AlphaTauri F1 car development

Tsunoda became the latest member of Red Bull's young driver programme to reach F1 after making his grand prix debut in Bahrain at the end of last month, moving up from Formula 2.

Tsunoda impressed in his first race, charging through to ninth place to score two points for AlphaTauri with a series of impressive overtakes.

The team has previously spoken about the important role Tsunoda's teammate, Pierre Gasly, will play through 2021, leading its development direction thanks to his greater F1 experience.

AlphaTauri technical director Egginton said the balance of one experienced driver and one rookie left the team in a "different scenario" to many of its rivals, but that Tsunoda was already complementing Gasly well.

"Pierre is a solid reference back to last year, and he's able to tell us in detail what's changed, what's better, what's worse, so that's good," Egginton said.

"That combined with the correlation, it helps us potentially answer some of the questions Yuki might have. Because we'll say, 'okay, that's expected, that's not expected, we're going to work on this.' So it steadies the ship a little bit.

"At the same time, [Tsunoda is] also raising some questions, which are [like] 'OK, that's quite an interesting thought'. The way he drives the car is a little bit different to Pierre and that opens up some other questions.

"So it's a bit of a mix, really. The key point is that he's got the speed, and he has got the speed, to be able to contribute."

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, passes Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02, passes Esteban Ocon, Alpine A521

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Tsunoda has enjoyed an accelerated rise through the ranks to reach F1, having been racing in Japan's national F4 championship just three years ago.

An impressive rookie season in F2 last year saw Tsunoda finish third in the championship and earn an F1 graduation that was aided by an extensive private testing programme.

Egginton was impressed by how Tsunoda took minor setbacks across his maiden grand prix weekend in his stride, proving his adaptability and willingness to learn.

"His speed was not in doubt from F2," Egginton said. "He deserves this shot. He's on a very steep learning curve, as with any young driver is coming into the Formula 1 world, but he's taking it step by step.

"He's absorbing a lot of information, and he's communicating well, and we're understanding what he wants from the car. He's working well with an engineering team. He's a quick learner.

Read Also:

"We had a few ups and downs [in Bahrain]. He's been very quick. We had a few little issues with the car, and he's taken that in his stride. It's frustrating for him as it is for everybody. If it wasn't frustrating for him, that would be a worry, actually. But he bounced back from it.

"It's really refreshing with the young guys in the team. I quite enjoy the challenge, and the team is good at it. Without being big headed, the team's good at working with young drivers.

"We're going to have ups and downs, but he's delivering and I think that's important because we're firmly in the midfield it appears, so it's good."

shares
comments

Related video

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Previous article

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Next article

Belgian GP: Tickets, the best grandstands, where to stay and how to get there

Belgian GP: Tickets, the best grandstands, where to stay and how to get there
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Yuki Tsunoda
Teams AlphaTauri
Author Luke Smith
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen Plus

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one big encouraging sign for Red Bull. The trouble is, it looks like making good on that gain will require its superstar driver to avoid repeating a mistake made today that left him well down the FP2 order

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Plus

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory Plus

How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning Plus

The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning

Frank Gardner was the veteran of just eight grand prix starts. It could have been more, but why waste his talent if the cars weren't up to it? NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the life of one of racing's great characters

Formula 1
May 2, 2021
Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth Plus

Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth

Jean Todt has signalled that he will not stand for re-election as FIA president. MARK GALLAGHER analyses the strong credentials of one potential successor…

Formula 1
May 1, 2021