‘It’s a Cultural Thing’ – Yuki Tsunoda Surprised by European Fans’ Reaction to F1 Debut

Published 04/14/2021, 7:35 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 25, 2021 AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda arrives at the circuit ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Yuki Tsunoda is one of the hottest properties in F1 right now despite him having just a single Grand Prix event under his belt. He was making waves already in the offseason, but since his debut in Bahrain, he has seen a multi-fold increase in his popularity.

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The AlphaTauri driver impressed everyone with his maiden points finish at the Bahrain GP. It was only a confirmation of his Verstappen-like talent. And it has played a major role in increasing his follower count across his social media handles.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in action during the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Across both Instagram and Twitter, he’s gained 152,121 followers since the last week of March. Yuki could see a pattern among those followers, with the primary increase coming from Europe rather than his native Japan. He had a theory as to why this happened.

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“It was interesting that after Bahrain, I think I got a bigger reaction from European fans than from those in Japan. It’s a cultural thing: Japanese fans want to see what I do in a few rounds before getting a proper impression.”

Yuki Tsunoda not feeling the pressure of his increased following

With great power, comes great responsibility. Now the F1 community expects him to deliver the results every race weekend. The pressure is on him to live up to the hype surrounding his precious talent.

However, he does not see that as a negative. Instead, he chooses to focus on getting the job done for him and his team.

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“I was surprised at that reaction in Europe. I didn’t expect it, because for me, Bahrain was not a perfect weekend and I was hoping to finish higher, I am happy about the fans’ support, but I don’t feel pressure because of it, I take it as something positive and this weekend I will just get on and do my job.”

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – DECEMBER 06: 2020 F2 third placed driver, F2 driver of the Year and winner of the Anthoine Hubert Rookie of the Year prize, Yuki Tsunoda of Japan and Carlin poses for a photo with his trophies during the Formula 2 Championship Prize Giving Ceremony at Bahrain International Circuit on December 06, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

He is part of the new crop of F1 whose popularity is growing on social media. The likes of Lando Norris and George Russell are similarly talented while attracting younger fans to the sport.

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Watch StoryShortest F1 drivers of All-time featuring Yuki Tsunoda, Fernando Alonso & Lando Norris

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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