Yuki Tsunoda Questions AlphaTauri After Spanish GP Q1 Exit: “It’s the Same Car, but…”

Published 05/08/2021, 11:31 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – April 29, 2021 Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda attends a press conference Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys


Unfortunately, Yuki Tsunoda is just not living up to the hype and extremely high expectations that were placed on his shoulders even before he made his official F1 debut. He’s far from it, in fact; he’s having a torrid time out on the track, with his misery further compounded by a quick exit in qualifying at Barcelona

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While he could only muster a 16th place, his teammate, Pierre Gasly, will start the race on Sunday at a much better 12th place.

So, what’s causing such a high difference in their respective pace?

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It may be something to do with the different behavior of his AT02 car, according to him.

“It’s always different feedback compared to my team-mate, even when we try the opposite,” Tsunoda said after the qualifying session ended.

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 7, 2021 AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in action during practice REUTERS/Albert Gea

“I have a little bit question mark [if it] is the same car – of course it’s the same car, but just the character of the car is just too different. Maybe, of course, it’s a different driving style. But yeah, I don’t know, I don’t understand what happened, why I’m struggling this much.”

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While he is a calm, friendly figure outside the car, he resorts to a more aggressive persona in the cockpit. He’s frequently swearing over his team radio. And on Saturday after being ousted in Q1, he furiously said, “I can’t f***ing believe this car.”

It’s also important to note how important tire temperatures are in these modern F1 cars. However, his compounds also remained at the optimum temperature during qualifying.

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“No, I wasn’t pushing too hard on the outlap, [I] just like do normal. The tyre temperature is quite spot on before the lap. I think the team, we set up, we set up the tyre, but I don’t know. It’s not the place I want to fight.

“The performance in this car, it’s easy to go to Q2. I really struggled to even go to Q2,” he said.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – JULY 10: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan and Carlin prepares for the Practice for the Formula 2 Championship at Red Bull Ring on July 10, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Those at AlphaTauri need to find the root cause of his struggles. Or it may be simply that he needs to put his head down and focus on himself, rather than look for excuses.

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Bharat Aggarwal

753 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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