Tsunoda should pack his bags and leave F1

Seen as a great hope for world motorsport after its 2020 Formula 2 season, Yuki tsunoda was eagerly awaited at the turn for his first F1 campaign at AlphaTauri. However, at this point in the season, the reasons for disappointment outnumber those for satisfaction.

If the Japanese rather started his season in a positive way by scoring points from his first Grand Prix in Bahrain, the rest was much more complicated with results sometimes far below expectations, the impression of ardor difficult to contain. and accidents, which is obviously prejudicial given that the driving time in practice, free or private, has never been so low. Results and a situation that necessarily contrast with those of Pierre Gasly, much more consistent and at the head of a total of 66 units in 14 Grands Prix when Tsunoda has only 18.

Despite this unfavorable context, Red Bull has nevertheless chosen to keep the young 21-year-old driver in the AlphaTauri team for the 2022 season, always alongside Gasly. A decision which did not really surprise in view of the statements of the leaders of the Austrian firm and the structure of Faenza but which did not fail to call out to certain observers who quickly took stock of these first two. third of the season.

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Still a Red Bull ambassador through promotional events, former driver David Coulthard, who raced for the Milton Keynes team between 2005 and 2008, was even very direct about what the future holds. ‘he glimpses for Tsunoda. For him, it’s simple: the Japanese must « to return to his place ».

« What planet is he from? », wondered for Channel 4 the one who officiates there as a consultant. « I think he needs to pack his bundle up and go home now, because it’s not a racing driver’s voice. ‘I’m amazed they kept me because I keep stopping. no crashing ‘… I would book a plane ticket now and do it on the cheap, because it won’t be in Formula 1 after the end of next year. « 

The Scotsman is referring here to comments made by Tsunoda himself in the wake of the announcement of his renewal for 2022. « TO to be honest, my first half of the season was quite irregular, so on my side I was a little surprised « , had thus entrusted the pilot to number 22. « Because I kept having accidents and made the team spend a lot of money. »

« I didn’t finish the first half of the season well, especially in Hungary, when I hit the wall in FP1 and wasted an entire session – almost two. According to Franz [Tost, directeur de la Scuderia AlphaTauri] and Helmut [Marko, conseiller sportif de Red Bull], you need more consistent results and more driving, as well as discipline in the sessions, and I couldn’t improve in the first half of the season. That’s why. »

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Asked Monza whether there had been the slightest doubt in his mind when driving Tsunoda back, Franz Tost, the director of AlphaTauri replied: “Nowadays if you start a rookie in Formula 1 you have to give him time. Formula 1 is really very complex, very difficult. And you can’t expect there to be a youngster coming along. and who shows experienced pilots where to go.  »

« No. So far Yuki has done a pretty good job. He was fast, he finished in Budapest in sixth position. And for his first race he was ninth in Bahrain. Of course he had a few accidents. , but I always say accident time is part of the learning process. « 

With Oleg Karpov

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