Tsunoda's 2021 F1 setbacks put him on "long road" to recover confidence

Yuki Tsunoda says a number of early setbacks in the 2021 Formula 1 season put him on "a long journey to improve my confidence" during his rookie season with AlphaTauri.

Tsunoda's 2021 F1 setbacks put him on "long road" to recover confidence
Listen to this article

Following a number of incidents in his first F1 season, particularly in qualifying, Tsunoda initially struggled to live up to his impressive debut at Bahrain in which he scored ninth place.

F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn even labelled Tsunoda as F1's "best rookie for years" following his immediate breakthrough result, before a string of difficult races left the Japanese driver devoid of confidence.

Finishing fourth, Tsunoda felt that Abu Dhabi was his most complete weekend of the season, after he had steadily rebuilt his confidence in recent months.

"I think it was a long journey to improve my confidence, from especially Imola. I really struggled, and it was a long journey, but I'm feeling pretty good and pretty prepared for the next year to have this confidence."

"[2022 is] going to be a tough season as well, starting quite early next year. So there's not much time to rest.

"But I think I still have to improve myself, especially physically. So [I will] just keep pushing, and try to have a good start for next year.

"It depends on the car, but for me, for my side in terms of confidence maybe still, I have to find a little bit of confidence, but just have to build it up the same progress as I did in these last five races. And I think I have to improve especially [on the] fitness side."

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Tsunoda added that he felt his good start to the season finale at Abu Dhabi was the "key" to securing his best result in F1, in which he outqualified teammate Pierre Gasly after making his way to Q3.

"The start was really good," Tsunoda explained. "Obviously, I've had bad starts, consistently, I lost positions on the first lap in the last three or four races. And this was my key point today.

"And even I improved this one, and I gained even one position on the first lap. And that was, I think, the key point for today's race. that I got P4.

"After that the pace was quite good, and in the end, I managed to pass [Valtteri] Bottas on soft tyres - so that was good."

During the race, Tsunoda also battled against Alpine's Fernando Alonso, who ran to a slightly different strategy after going long into the race on his medium tyres.

Tsunoda felt that Alonso made a pass on him off track, but was grateful to have been in the same ballpark as the two-time F1 champion.

"I think, to be honest, he completely passed off track. So he should give me back the position immediately.

"But he didn't, so I just had to overtake. But anyway, it was fun to battle with that kind of legend."

shares
comments

Related video

O’Ward revels in "addictive" first Formula 1 test with McLaren
Previous article

O’Ward revels in "addictive" first Formula 1 test with McLaren

Next article

McLaren: Norris "unlucky" to lose fifth in championship to puncture

McLaren: Norris "unlucky" to lose fifth in championship to puncture
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Prime

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

Stuart Codling charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Prime

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded Maurce Hamilton of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Prime

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination.

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight Prime

The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight

The pecking order in 2022's Formula 1 season may look pretty static as the season draws to a close, but the unique nature of the cost cap means that preparation for next season takes precedence. New developments are being pushed back to 2023, which could mask the technical development war ongoing...

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall Prime

The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall

Looking back to the early races of 2022 and Ferrari’s challenge to Red Bull and Max Verstappen was going better than many expected. But it has lost so much ground a surprise rival can even pip Charles Leclerc to runner-up in the standings if given the chance

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2022
The F1 podium-finisher that gave Jordan stability in a year of chaos Prime

The F1 podium-finisher that gave Jordan stability in a year of chaos

The Hart-powered Jordan 194 gave the team hope that the good times were just around the corner. Its 1994 steed wasn’t the start of a move up F1’s pecking order - even if the car did earn the Silverstone team a first pole position. But, as STUART CODLING explains, it did provide a platform for Jordan to become a manufacturer-supported squad.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2022
BRM V16: How F1's greatest sound has returned to the track Prime

BRM V16: How F1's greatest sound has returned to the track

The first of three new BRM V16s is bringing the greatest-sounding engine to a new audience – and back to the race track - at the Goodwood Revival this weekend. Here is the story of the ambitious 1950 Formula 1 project's resurrection for historic competition

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2022
The juggling act that makes up an F1 team principal’s weekend Prime

The juggling act that makes up an F1 team principal’s weekend

Have you ever wondered what a Formula 1 team principal actually does at a grand prix? GP RACING followed Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack to open a window into the TP’s race weekend world…

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2022