Tost grins after hearing Tsunoda: "They all underestimate F1"

31-10-2021 16:39 | Updated: 31-10-2021 18:45
Tost grins after hearing Tsunoda: They all underestimate F1

Ross Brawn called Yuki Tsunoda 'the best F1 rookie in years' after the first Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain and Helmut Marko stated that the Japanese was 'a future world champion'. Tsunoda finished in the points on his debut. After that, however, he was less successful. The 21-year old driver admits he may have thought a little too easy about driving in Formula 1.

Underestimating F1

"To be honest, yes," Tsunoda says in an interview with GP Racing magazine when asked if he underestimated the pinnacle of motorsport. "Of course, I was watching Formula 1 onboards [before]. And I thought there was just so much grip. Until Formula 2 you can control [the car] even if you have a big snap. And I was thinking that F1 if you have a big snap you can also control it."

However, the aerodynamics of an F1 car are much more advanced, so a slight touch with another driver can immediately cause you to lose several tenths per lap in speed. "Yeah, I underestimated it. Yep. Completely," Tsunoda is honest.

Franz Tost is not surprised that his pupil has underestimated Formula 1. Grinning, he says: "They all underestimate F1. He is Japanese, the first Japanese with us. But the rest, I wouldn’t say there is something unique. He is like the other Red Bull Junior drivers, very high-skilled. He is fast and he wants to win immediately, sometimes therefore he is too impatient, but this was also with other drivers the case."

Tsunoda erratic

Tost has been the AlphaTauri team principal for more than a decade, so he's had quite a few drivers under his belt. Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel were trained by Tost and his team. Tsunoda is really not very different from other rookies, says Tost. "When they come to Formula 1, they all think they know everything – they are fast, and they easily can do it. And then they have a good race, maybe at the beginning, and then they think ‘so, now I will show them my real potential’. And then they crash.”

Tsunoda had two more DNFs, in Spain and the Netherlands. He also threw away a number of chances in qualifying by screwing up his laps at times when he didn't need to. It is the inexperience of the Japanese driver. Fortunately, he still has a full year in 2022 to convince Helmut Marko of his abilities.

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