It is always special for a young driver to be getting a chance to drive an F1 car, even if they are older versions. It was no different for Red Bull junior Yuki Tsunoda, who undertook a testing session at Imola.
The Japanese driver has admitted to getting a ‘tired neck’ after the completion of the race. He believes it is down to the highly powerful aspects that the F1 machinery had to offer.
Speaking in an interview, Tsunoda is quoted as saying, “It felt hard, especially in the braking zones, the braking performance. I always went (forwards) and I tried to avoid going like that but still the braking power is more than I expected.”
“The first session was raining, but even in the rain there is really, really big performance when you initially went on throttle, even in wet conditions it was more than I felt in Formula 2 in dry conditions.
“So that was the biggest surprise for me today. And also the second thing for me was the braking performance in dry conditions was really big. Huge.”
The Imola test was merely the start of bigger things for the young driver. So, putting in the extra training could serve him in good stead when he eventually makes the jump up to the premier motorsport division.
“So I need to do lots of training until the next session or next event I drive Formula 1, to prepare a lot.” stated Tsunoda after his debut F1 experience.
It is suggested that Tsunoda could get another outing as the current AlphaTauri contender. This would be similar to the proposed free practice debuts for Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott. However, it never materialized in Nurburgring due to bad weather.
Yuki is also a hopeful for a seat alongside star driver Pierre Gasly next year. In a bid to replace Daniil Kvyat, he could face competition from Alex Albon – whose future at Red Bull is uncertain.
As far as current commitment goes, Tsunoda is battling Schumacher and Ilott for the F2 crown. The final Bahrain races will determine the winner, and the Japanese racer is currently third with 147 points.
Tsunoda will need to gain a super license in order to race in F1. It is said that he will need a Top 5 finish to secure one. Even after that, his arrival in the sport might not be certain.
Much will hinge on whether the Red Bull management decides to place Albon in a seat next to Gasly. If that does not happen, we could be seeing yet another young racer in the F1 ranks next year.