Tsunoda “didn’t enjoy” first experience of new training regime after Red Bull moved him to Italy

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Red Bull told Yuki Tsunoda during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend he would move from the UK to Italy in order to better embed him with his AlphaTauri team.

Tsunoda, who had previously asked to relocate from Milton Keynes closer to his team’s Faenza base, has had a troubled run of races since scoring points on his debut in Bahrain.

He revealed yesterday that he first learned of his move two days after his crash during second practice at Monte-Carlo.

“I got told while I was in Monaco, it was Saturday, I think,” he said. “Basically, when I crashed in FP2, that was not a good thing and I think Red Bull was not happy after that. And also we were talking at Red Bull, AlphaTauri [that] it’s good to have a little bit [of a] big change for me because I think the last three races or four races, I haven’t had good races and to change something you need a big difference.

“They decided for me to move to Italy, to have more chats with the engineers and to go to the factory and have more opportunity to talk about the car. For me, that’s a very good decision.”

Tsunoda confirmed he had previously asked to move closer to AlphaTauri. “Actually, I was asking Red Bull from the beginning of the season to possibly move to Italy, but they said at first, no. So I was staying in Milton Keynes.

“But now I can go to Italy and spend more time with the team. So that’s positive for me. And generally, I like more Italy where the food is nice and the weather is much nicer. So it means everything is positive. Hopefully this goes well, also for my performance in the race.”

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Tsunoda said Red Bull implemented the change with immediate effect, and he travelled directly from Monaco to his new home in Italy. Since then he has followed a strict new schedule of training and contact with the team, overseen by AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Monaco, 2021
Tsunoda learned in Monaco he would move to Italy
“After Monaco, I flew directly to Faenza and most of the plan, the whole day, was scheduled by Franz Tost,” said Tsunoda.

His day began at nine o’clock with a two-hour gym session. “I’ve never had this experience from morning gym, big session, it was hard this one,” he said. After that “11 [until] 12:30 was an engineering meeting and lunch and also having an English lesson because my English is not perfect. So I think also for me it was a good opportunity to learn English.

“And three to 4:30, again engineer meeting, 4:30 to six again another big gym session. Most of the things were scheduled by Franz.”

Tsunoda admitted he found his new schedule a strain. “I didn’t enjoy last week, but it is what it is.

“I think the engineer meetings, especially, that makes a very good understanding to the car and that was really good preparation for this week. So that was good.

“Mainly the gym sessions were much longer than usual. So hopefully I will be like a bodybuilder in the end of the year, but we’ll see.”

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2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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24 comments on “Tsunoda “didn’t enjoy” first experience of new training regime after Red Bull moved him to Italy”

  1. Franz, knowing that physically beating his driver would be frowned upon, “beat him up” with heavy gym sessions and then pretended it was all so he could have engineering meetings. Devious man that Franz :)

    That said, it makes sense and i am surprised they did not do this earlier.

  2. English lessons. Yes, his English speaking isn’t necessarily perfect, but neither terrible. I’ve heard worse and still understood correctly. In general, I hope this move will help him perform better moving on.

    1. @jerejj I imagine it’s so those in the team who aren’t native English speakers can better understand him. Also possibly to help him provide better feedback to the engineers with a better-pronounced and larger vocabulary.

  3. Fair enough to make him work for it, so he’ll respect and concider the work others in his team are putting in. He’s got to learn to be humble, focussed and look inward instead of blaming the team/car.

  4. Is anyone aware where prior Alpha Tauri / Toro Rosso drivers have stayed? Is he the first one to be asked to relocate to Faenza?

    If he is the 1st one, I guess Red Bull is finally accepting a change in their approach to drivers. They gave a long rope to Alex, got a driver from outside in form of Perez and now actively helping Yuki.

    Good on them!

    1. Previous Alpha Tauri drivers were required to stay in Milton Keynes, to work with the Red Bull facilities between races. Part of the idea was that having all the drivers together would result in them pushing each other.

      1. As you note, most of the technical facilities have been in the UK, so drivers have normally been expected to stay there – I think Gasly is still expected to be in the UK.

        Perhaps part of it also reflected the tendency for Red Bull to make in-season changes – if the driver was already working with the parent team and in the UK, it would make it much easier to switch a driver from one team to another.

        1. @anon Gasly has lived in Italy for a little while already. First in Bologna and later relocated to Milan.

          1. You are right – it appears that Gasly was encouraged to move his residency to Italy, though only in the latter part of 2020.

  5. It’s the first time I’ve heard of someone moving to Italy to learn English.

    1. Especially considering Yuki’s moved from England, which is where English started…

    2. @shimks @alianora-la-canta Weird indeed. Learning English in Italy instead of the language’s original country.

    3. It wasn’t the main reason they moved him though. And English teachers can travel too, you know?

      Reply moderated
  6. Still much better english than Tanabe-san. That being said I’m learning Japanese myself and definitely could not do any better in reverse.

    I really hope the new lifestyle helps improve his performance. He’s definitely a favourite character, I really hope he can manage to earn another year.

    1. @skipgamer What a coincidence as I’ve also been learning Japanese (since 2017), although Tsunoda’s and Tanabe’s English is definitely better than my Japanese as I still can’t properly communicate pretty much beyond basics.

  7. Pffftt……what is this about Italian food being better than British? Everyone knows English food is the envy of the world! You can’t get Egg and Chips in Faenza Yuki.

    In all seriousness best of luck to him, it seems he’s quickly becoming a bit of a fan favourite, and obviously it’s been a poor run but it’d be great to see him get his feet on the table and start building some momentum.

    1. Yeah, he’ll be missing the eel pie in no time.

  8. Unheard of to take control of a F1 driver like this from training to schooling almost against their will.

    Don’t know if it’s punishment for crashing, yelling and being lazy, or just for development, but very unique this.

    1. I think is probably more common than we though. It’s only that normally they not air it like this time. The rookies in Formula 1 the last years are almost children.

  9. Sergey Martyn
    4th June 2021, 15:59

    Kinda strange – back in 2016 Kvyat was sacked after scoring a podium (and yes – after that unnecessary collision) but this Japanese clown who scored just 2 points so far this season, crashing merrily and stupidly on other occasions, moreover, this dimwit needs instructions from race engineers to engage a rear gear, is still OK for Dr. Marko. Helmut, wake up and call Dany!

    1. “Japanese clown”? tone the racism down.

      why the hatred for yuki i can name various other drivers that preform worse like a billionaire daddy deviant pay driver for example.

      But sure keep promoting the untrue ‘crazy useless Japanese’ dog whistle

      1. He’s not a chill guy. Never, ever listen to him.

    2. Dany won’t come back because he’s in the RAF until the end of 2022.

    3. Also, WHAT YOU SAY?! WHAT YOU SAY?! WHAT YOU SAY?!

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