‘It’s been a hard year, but I’ve learned a lot’ – Tsunoda insists he and AlphaTauri will ‘be back strong’ in 2023
Yuki Tsunoda has taken the positives from a tough second season with AlphaTauri, insisting that they will bounce back together after the team dropped from sixth to ninth in the constructors’ standings under F1’s new technical regulations.
AlphaTauri were a consistent points-scoring operation before the sport’s rules reset, with standout recent results including Pierre Gasly’s victory at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix and another podium finish in Azerbaijan last year.
However, the 2022 campaign – which heralded overhauled car designs – saw them mostly limited to minor points finishes and, after narrowly losing out to Haas, the Italian team wound up ninth in the championship, ahead only of Williams.
But despite this disappointment, summed up by a frustrating run to P11 at the Abu Dhabi finale, Tsunoda feels he “learned lots of things” during his sophomore F1 season, and paid tribute to outgoing team mate Pierre Gasly.
Speaking after the Yas Marina race, Tsunoda said: “The last six or seven laps, the tyre was good, then suddenly the tyre dropped and I couldn’t keep up the pace from the fronts. I felt there was a good chance to score points, but I couldn’t keep up the pace. It’s a shame, but at the same time I did my best."
Despite his frustrations, Tsunoda also took the time to thank his team mate Pierre Gasly, who is joining Alpine for next season.
“It’s been a hard year as a team," Tsunoda said. "We couldn’t achieve even P8 in the championship. On a positive side, I learned lots of things from it – especially from Pierre, who’s leaving. It was a pleasure to work with him and I appreciate the things he achieved [for] the team and also [gave] to me.”
Having contributed 12 points to AlphaTauri’s tally in 2022, compared to the 23 scored by Alpine-bound Gasly, Tsunoda is now focused on regrouping with the team over the winter break and coming back fighting for his third term in the sport.
“Hopefully the car is good. Of course, for my side I need a lot of improvement, still. At least I have a clear target to progress for the next year, so that’s good. I will just try to achieve that and definitely we’ll be back strong in the next year,” he said.
Tsunoda will be joined at AlphaTauri by former F2 and Formula E champion Nyck de Vries in 2023 – the Dutchman having starred during a stand-in points-scoring appearance for Williams at this year’s Italian Grand Prix.