Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Imola, 2020

Pictures: Tsunoda stunned by F1 performance after damp Imola test

2020 F1 season

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Leading Formula 2 rookie Yuki Tsunoda was astonished by his first run in a Formula 1 car in damp conditions at Imola.

Tsunoda, who is being considered for a promotion to F1 next year, said he was impressed to discover the AlphaTauri generated more grip on a damp track than his F2 can in the dry.

“Even in this rain – the first session was rain – there was really, really big performance,” said the 20-year-old. “I think more than I feel in Formula 2 dry conditions.

“So that was the biggest surprise for today. The second thing is the braking performance in the dry condition was really big, huge.”

“The power, after I went full throttle, it felt like initially big power from the engine, which I don’t feel much in Formula 2,” he added. “The power is more than I expected.”

Tsunoda admitted he found the car even more physically challenging than he thought it would be. “I had quite a bit of confidence that I [wouldn’t] have much tired[ness] for [my] neck because even in Formula 2 I don’t feel much, my neck is pretty strong.

“But after I drove a Formula 1 [car] today I felt it pretty hard, especially in the braking zone, braking performance. I did try to avoid that but still the braking power is more than I expected.”

He said he hadn’t felt “nervous” about his first run, but admitted it felt “special” to watch the team’s mechanics preparing his tyres before he went out.

“When I saw the four mechanics around the tyres, taking off the tyre blankets, that was really cool. I saw that just in the Formula 1 game. I was like dreaming that one day I want to sit there in real life and see how it feels like there. I felt a little bit special when I saw that.”

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Pictures: Yuki Tsunoda’s first Formula 1 test

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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11 comments on “Pictures: Tsunoda stunned by F1 performance after damp Imola test”

  1. I love how he relates the experience of watching the tyre blankets come off to the Codemasters games. This just a few weeks after Lewis told Mick Schumacher he related to his father by playing as him in Geoff Crammond’s GP2. Shows just how important those games are to firing the imaginations of fans, drivers, and mechanics, young and old, and giving us an opportunity to interact with the sport in a way we never could in real life.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      4th November 2020, 23:45

      There is still a comunity of GP2 players.

  2. It’s nice to see this sort of comment, especially as most of us won’t even get to drive in a F2 car, let alone in an F1 car. I do hope his ambition becomes a reality.
    I’m disappointed the Honda have chosen to stop making engines, but they know their business better than I do. As someone pointed out in some other article today, F1 cars contribute something like 0.07% of F1’s carbon footprint. These F1 engines are amongst the most fuel efficient engines ever made, yet Honda are walking away from this amazing technology.

    1. Unfortunately most of the technology really isn’t applicable to street cars. A car running at constant speed on a freeway, or stop and go slow driving in city traffic, is not the model this technology addresses. There are already regenerative braking systems, so what would the race engines contribute to street car efficiency? F1 engines are amazing, but they have been developed for a VERY niche market. Sure, some stuff might be transferable, but serious calculation of cost/benefit is necessary. I suspect that’s what Honda have done and decided it’s not a good investment. I’m really sorry to see them go, but they are a business with a bottom line. How much have they spent on engine development? $1 billion? Maybe less, maybe more, and I think it just doesn’t pencil out.

    2. But the tech isn’t updating. It’s stagnant, and will remain so for another 5 years.
      And Honda aren’t walking away from it – they’ve still got every bit of knowledge about it.
      No doubt they’ll be taking some of it to Indycar, where they can make a profit from it.

      1. S, no, they will not – the regulations in IndyCar explicitly set the engine lease prices below the cost of production, so Honda will not be making any profit from it.

        1. The term ‘profit’ is relative, and doesn’t automatically imply only financial gain.
          They’ll do a lot better from their investment in Indycar’s many relatively cheap and expendable engines than they will from supplying the ridiculously complicated yet trivial systems – requiring constant updates – to just two F1 teams each year. Entirely at their own expense.
          And the longer they stay in Indycar instead of F1, the better it works out for them.

          1. S, if you want to make it a more abstract concept then, what exactly is this “profit” that you seem to think Honda will derive from IndyCar?

            Furthermore, your comment about “expendable engines” doesn’t make sense when you look at the regulations that IndyCar and what they actually specify. IndyCar engines are expected to have an operating lifespan of 2,500-2850 miles on average before they have a major overhaul – the normal allocation is four engines to cover the estimated 10,000 miles that the cars cover over the full season, including any testing that the teams do (unlike F1, any pre-season or in-season tests also count towards IndyCar’s engine mileage limits).

            It therefore means that a typical IndyCar engine is not the sort of “cheap and expendable” engine you think it is – on the contrary, the operating lifetimes are onerous enough that a modern IndyCar engine has to have a similar lifespan to a modern F1 engine, with IndyCar now enforcing it through the threat of grid penalties (or, in the harshest cases, grid penalties and a points deduction as well).

          2. I think S is referring to a cost per exposure (in a marketing sense) which will be more beneficial to them in indycar than in F1 (potentially). It’s one of the reasons why Red Bull can spend such a large amount of money and effectively be running the cars at a ‘profit’ because the exposure they get, if they had to pay to get it through other means, would cost more than running the F1 team. I remember seeing a breakdown of it a few years ago and they were effectively ‘saving’ tens of millions every year.

            It’s terrifically complicated to calculate I’m sure but in simplest terms they don’t want to pay F1-levels of cash for the exposure to the market it gets them.

    3. It’s all about Honda’s future. The term is “De-ICE”.
      I understand it will close the UK plant & build vehicles for the Euro/UK markets in Japan.
      F1 PUs might be amazing, but with many countries looking to cease petrol/oil sales by 2035, to meet global emission targets by 2050 (exactly why Boris is looking to stop those sales in 2035, not the earlier date of 2040). Yes, they are in Indycar, but the writing is on the wall.
      Honda is heavily into EVs

  3. I knew he was quick but I was not aware of his stature. He is made for f1.

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