Tsunoda ‘underestimated’ fitness requirements in 2021 – but on a 'good path' in 2022, says Tost
AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost says Yuki Tsunoda “underestimated some training sessions” last season but backed the Japanese racer to continue to improve in 2022 – saying he expects “a very good season” from the young driver.
Tsunoda struggled to match his team mate Pierre Gasly last year and has previously admitted that he believed his fitness was a limitation for him at points in 2021. But AlphaTauri boss Tost said Tsunoda was fitter than he thought, and will now deliver consistent results.
“First of all, Yuki was not as bad in physical condition as he thinks,” said Tost, speaking over the Australian Grand Prix weekend. “Every driver thinks that he is not fit enough and then of course he has to increase his physical training. And it's also difficult to do physical training for a Formula 1 driver. The best training is always driving the car.
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“Yuki, he may have underestimated some training sessions which he should have done [in 2021], but he did it and then he improved a lot,” continued Tost. “He took it seriously, he was training twice a day, he had a lot of lessons with the engineers to learn also the technical side.
“And Yuki improved a lot; you can also see [in practice for the Australian Grand Prix] although he is here for the first time, he showed a very good performance, and he is on a very good path. He is absolutely within schedule, and I expect a very good season – especially in the second half if we provide him with a fast and reliable car.”
Tsunoda has had a mixed start to the season. After a P8 finish at the first race in Bahrain, he failed to make it to the grid in Jeddah due to a technical issue and then finished in P15 at the Australian Grand Prix. And according to Technical Director Jody Egginton, the team “have a lot of work to do” ahead of their home race in Imola.
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“Yuki [struggled] for pace on both compounds,” said Egginton after the Melbourne race. “So, we need to understand the factors behind this, as he was reasonably happy with his car during the Friday and Saturday sessions. We have a lot of work to do ahead of the next race, but at the same time we are looking forward to the challenge.”
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend begins on April 22 – AlphaTauri sitting eighth in the championship with a two-point gap to Haas in front.
Constructors' standings after Melbourne
|3 Red Bull Racing||55|
|6 Alfa Romeo||13|
|7 Haas F1 Team||12|
|10 Aston Martin|