Tsunoda reveals how ‘feeling relaxed’ helped him become a better driver in his second F1 season
Yuki Tsunoda believes physical and mental improvements were central to him improving as a driver throughout the 2022 season, with the Japanese youngster taking a more “relaxed” mindset into each race weekend.
Tsunoda experienced a mixed first campaign with AlphaTauri in 2021 as his flashes of pace were accompanied by mistakes, radio outbursts and fitness struggles – leading to changes around his routine on and off the track.
After a noticeably calmer second term in the sport, Tsunoda’s outgoing team mate, Pierre Gasly, declared that the 22-year-old “improved massively”, tipping him to make further progress in 2023 as “he knows what he needs to work on”.
And asked what areas he feels he progressed in during his sophomore F1 season, Tsunoda reflected: “For me, I think I would say in general: the physical side, mentality side and driving side.
“Overall, I’m pretty happy. I’ll say… now I’m feeling relaxed in the race week, especially Thursday, Friday, which I didn’t know how to approach and I was stressing consistently, especially last year, rushing everything.
“That makes it a little bit kind of [stressful and] frustrating, and made it a little bit difficult by myself, but now I can kind of be relaxing and I know how to adapt to any situation.
“[I’m] feeling confident, good confidence, and anything that happens, like the things I didn’t expect still, I know how to handle it, so I think overall, this year, I’m pretty happy about the how I progressed, every race. Hopefully I can continue, or even more, this momentum.”
With drivers heading into the winter break to regroup, Tsunoda explained that he is planning to follow a similar approach to the 2021-22 off-season by spending most of his time in Europe – making a joke about his love for the cuisine in Japan.
“Currently, I’m planning for a little bit more in Europe. I’ll go back to Japan, but I think it’ll be as short as it was probably last year,” said Tsunoda, who scored 12 points across the 2022 season, while Alpine-bound Gasly bagged 23.
“Then [I’ll] come back to Europe and train as [I did] last year, or this year’s beginning of the season. I’m not planning on spending too long [in Japan], or else I am going to be really fat!”