Tsunoda surprised he was retained


Yuki Tsunoda has admitted to being surprised that AlphaTauri retained him for a second season.

Qualifying 13th and finishing ninth on his F1 debut, having previously shown good pace in pre-season testing, it was widely thought that the Japanese driver might actually live up to the hype.

However, his season subsequently began to fall apart, and other than a strong weekend in Baku his season has been punctuated by crashes, most notably in qualifying at Imola and Paul Ricard which consequently meant he failed to progress into Q2.

Speaking to reporters at Monza, days after being confirmed for a second season with AlphaTauri, Tsunoda admitted surprise at being retained by the Red Bull owned team.

"From my side I was a bit surprised I'll be staying next year," he said. "So first of all, thanks for the team."

Asked why, he responded: "Because I just keep crashing and cost the team a lot of money.

"I was not on a good way to end up the first half of the season," he continued, "especially in Hungary when I went to the wall in FP1 and ruined a whole session, almost two sessions.

"You need a more consistent result and more driving, and also discipline in the sessions," he admitted. "I couldn't improve through the first half of the season, and that's why."

In the madness that was the Hungarian Grand Prix, the youngster finished 6th, however, on the 84 points that see the Faenza-based outfit 6th in the standings the rookie has only contributed 18.

"I didn't expect it to be that difficult in Formula One," he said, "because even in junior categories if I had a massive slap or went to the wall I never had this much losing confidence. So that's one main issue. That's why I'm building up and trying to have more consistent laps, and consistent sessions.

"I didn't know what was going to happen at the first race and I just fully sent it almost every session," he continued. "At that point, I felt very good, and I was feeling I was driving very well.

"I think from Imola, especially after qualifying, I lost maybe a little bit of confidence. I kept doing mistakes every time so I reset, building confidence.

"At the beginning of the season, expectations were too high. And that's why I think the first race went well. But after that it was just getting confusing each session and each race week, and that made it spiral."

Of course, having the (financial) backing of Honda has no doubt helped the team, and, more importantly, Helmut Marko, keep faith in the youngster.

Check out our Friday gallery from Monza, here.

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Published: 10/09/2021
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