Reflecting on his progress in 2022, Yuki Tsunoda gave himself a grade, up from the five or six he posted at this point in the season last year in his first year in Formula 1, acknowledging a boost in confidence from his Greater experience.
“I think I’ve been able to use the experience gained last year,” he said. “I think now I know what I have to do, how I have to approach each race weekend, it’s definitely an advantage compared to last year.
“At the same time, last year I experienced pretty much everything, even the worst, but I was able to come back. So yeah, in most situations, I’ve been able to stay calm, not like last year. That’s the main difference.”
“Every weekend I know what I have to do. That’s the main goal. Last year I didn’t really know what I had to do, I just thought I had to perform well. But how? To perform well in FP1 or in all the sessions, because they are different. I didn’t think about those things”.
AlphaTauri’s technical director, Jody Egginton , agreed with the Japanese driver’s own assessment, highlighting the great difference a year of experience has made in Tsunoda ‘s work with the team’s staff.
“It’s developing and has a good relationship with its engineers,” Egginton said. “I sit down and talk to him and now he has a clear opinion of what he wants in the car. That’s good because it means he’s starting to fit in and has an opinion about it.”
In terms of points scored, Tsunoda is a bit far from the 18 he had at this point last season. He has only harvested 11 this year, but he is philosophical about it after seeing the various reliability hiccups it has suffered.
The main driver, Pierre Gasly, has lost even more points compared to 2021, since he has only managed to add 16, compared to the 50 with which he arrived at the summer break last year.
“I’m quite happy with what I’ve done, I’ve just managed to get the most out of the car,” said the Japanese.
“I’ve had a lot of reliability problems. In Saudi Arabia, for example, I didn’t drive in FP3, or qualifying, or the race. In Bahrain I missed FP3. Pierre also missed FP3 in Barcelona. Also, I was running sixth and seventh in Azerbaijan until the breakdown came”.
The latter seemed destined to be his best performance of the season. After finishing eighth in qualifying, he was sixth when he was forced to pit due to severe damage to the DRS on his rear wing.
“A lot has happened, but overall, I’m still happy with what I’ve done.”
“I think that between Pierre and myself there is not much difference in terms of points. Considering what I lost in Arabia and Azerbaijan, it should be very even. So yes, I am happy,” concluded the Japanese AlphaTauri driver.