Tsunoda: De Vries' F1 feedback like Lauda in Rush movie

Yuki Tsunoda has praised his former AlphaTauri Formula 1 team-mate Nyck de Vries by comparing the Dutchman’s feedback with that of three-time world champion Niki Lauda in the Rush movie.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri

De Vries was dropped by the Faenza team last week in favour of Daniel Ricciardo just 10 races into his rookie season.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, Tsunoda says he learned a lot from the 2020-21 Formula E champion despite being the more experienced driver in F1 terms, specifically in terms of how detailed feedback can be.

The 2013 Rush movie highlighted Lauda’s acute sensitivity to the behaviour of both road and racing cars, and Tsunoda revealed that de Vries’s comments carried a similar level of detail.

“Especially the feedback after the session,” he said when asked about de Vries’s feedback. “Like to the team, how the car behaves, it's really specific.

"I never seen a driver like that, he is saying really specific [things], describing each detail, which are easy to understand. And yeah, it's really specific.

“And I can tell like why he had such successful results in the past. It's those places, which was probably a bit of limitation for me, that I have to go a step forward. 

"And probably Nyck was a really good example and good reference on what I have to do, so yeah, especially those places.”

Asked to elaborate on how much detail de Vries used to describe the car, he said: “How the car behaves through the corner, he starts from like braking, late entry, mid-corner exit.

“Obviously, I'm saying that each part of the corners, how the car behaves, but he's a little bit more like he says the limitation, but also he suggests the kind of options to solve those issues. Also for future development.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04, leave the garage

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04, leave the garage

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“What I got impressed by most was the last day in the Abu Dhabi test. He drove our car and he described how the front wing behaves through the corner, and he was saying almost spot-on, kind of in entry how much the front wing deflected through the corner, and that kind of flexion was making our car like this behaviour.

“He kind of guessed what the front wing does and he was spot-on what the kind of characteristic and what kind of design we're doing for the front wing.

“I just saw Rush – Niki Lauda, he said really good feedback about the car. Probably he's like a Niki Lauda."

Tsunoda said he was working on the simulator at Red Bull in Milton Keynes when he learned of the change of team-mate.

“Christian [Horner] just told me just before the news," he said. "Actually when we met in coincidence in the factory and he told me then, so I didn't know until that on that day when team released it.

PLUS: The five challenges between Ricciardo and Perez's Red Bull F1 seat

“There were rumours already. So I was like not really surprised. But, yeah, still surprised when I heard. That was quick.

“I messaged him after the news. I didn't know like [if] it's good to say or not, but I told him like what I felt and I also [showed my] appreciation to him. And he gave me a really nice message back.

"So obviously we're friends. And yeah, he's really nice guy and respectful person. I can respect a lot of things from him.”

Asked if de Vries should have been given more time, he said: “I think these 10 races, especially most of, or a couple of tracks that, he didn't know, so I think so.”

He added: "I think he was doing a pretty good job until last time. I can tell from his lap time and how he behaved in the team that he was gradually building up his confidence. So yeah, it's a bit surprising.”

Previous article F1 tyre call must recognise different circumstances, says Vasseur
Next article Ricciardo confident of avoiding "trap" that derailed McLaren F1 spell