Tsunoda must learn where the limits lie – Tost

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost says Yuki Tsunoda must learn to recognise when he is on the limit, but praised the rookie’s progress after his first appearance in Q3.

Tsunoda qualified in eighth place but crashed at turn three during his second flying lap, effectively ending the session. Tsunoda will start seventh on the grid after Lando Norris was given a grid penalty.

After AlphaTauri’s strongest qualifying session of the season, Tost says that Tsunoda’s accident shows that he needs to learn when he is running on the limit.

“Yuki, I must say, from Friday onwards, showed all the time an improvement and went faster and faster,” said Tost.

“His Q2 time was really very fast and he was also there in Q3. On his last run, he pushed too much and braked too late. He has to learn to recognise when he’s on the limit. If you are within the same tenths as other top drivers, then there’s not so much space anymore to be faster. You must recognise as a driver, ‘I can’t brake later. I can’t push harder’.

“But once more, this is a kind of a learning process. And I must say that during this weekend he already made a big step forward in understanding the car and also from the technical feedback side. Therefore, I’m quite positive that we will get him in the right way because he has an unbelievable natural speed.”

Tsunoda showed flashes of strong pace in his brief F1 career so far but also enduring some frustrating race weekends. Tost expects that the sport’s youngest driver will develop with experience.

“From the beginning of the season, we must not forget there were a couple of race tracks which he didn’t know,” Tost explained.

“It was the first time in Portimao, for example, and in Portimao, we simply didn’t get the most out of our car from the set-up side and so on. And then in Barcelona he had a technical failure – he could have scored points there, but it was not his fault.

“But he’s learning and here in Baku – we all know it’s a difficult racetrack, it’s not so easy – and until the third qualifying, he was really on a good level and showed good pace.

“You never should crash, but to crash in Q3 is one story. What I didn’t like was the crash in Q1 in the first run in Imola, because with such a competitive car, you don’t do this. But that’s the cleverness he has to learn. And this cleverness runs in parallel with the experience. You can’t expect that a young driver knows everything.”

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2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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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...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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10 comments on “Tsunoda must learn where the limits lie – Tost”

  1. Yet we dont hear Horner making any reference to DTM

    1. I don’t quite understand what you mean Mayrton. Red Bull gave Albon a chance, he consistently didn’t deliver, and Perez was a free agent waiting to be signed. The RBJT had already decided to promote Tsunoda, so there was no place for Albon at AT. Albon had 2 seasons, Tsunoda’s had 5 races, one of which he had a mechanical failure in meaning he only completed 6 laps.

      If you’re on about Horner not talking about whether Albon is doing well in DTM, that would be because the season doesn’t start for another 2 weeks.

  2. Nice step up by him and no real shame in crashing since so many have done it here

    1. @balue that said, this is now the second major shunt he has had in a qualifying session in the opening six races of this season, and it’s come on the back of a bit of a troubled run in form. I can see why Tost is a bit anxious – whilst Tsunoda might have shown flashes of pace, he’s also had some rather rough patches as well.

      1. What is the saying? You can teach a fast driver not to crash, but you can’t teach a slow driver to be fast.

        He has the pace, and with experience he’ll better manage keeping it within but close to the limit.

  3. Jockey Ewing
    6th June 2021, 11:24

    Success after the promotion is about whether a rookie is functional at F1 level or not.
    Because:
    – the field at all feeder series is much softer (than at many series where most of the entrants are adults, like : DTM, top tiers of prototype racing, Indy)
    – the cars and therefore the pace of the actions are obviously much faster at F1, F1 is much more intensive, with much more prepared competitors
    – complexity-wise the cars, strategies and setups are at a higer level too, the suffering teams often not understanding their cars after a half season

    Tsunoda: I think he has the pace, but maybe had a bit too much hybris too, because he did really well at F2, and his career was on a really good trajectory until his second F2 race. Finally we have seen his pace at the first laps of Q3, he equalled the Q3 regulars, after being asked to build up his pace more carefully.
    I don’t know , probably he had a hard time to accept that Alpha Tauri is not a nimble and oversteery car, he got used to F2, and he spent weekends to try to get that characteristics out of the AT. At his arrival to F1, the photos, the commounication from the team hinted that he is maby the new star, who will put Gasly in the shade. Thus maybe he was allowed to do so, had a bit of support from the Honda side to do so for a while. But I think you can not go completely against the car’s characteristics, if it is understeery in a nice way it is better to accept that. It is better to understand how the machinery works, because these cars, do not have such wide operational windows, for eg: Mercedes can not run high rake without serious problems introduced as side effects.

    So now they are having a hard time, because: Gasly improved so much in the last two years, they can not know how Tsunoda would compare to the likes of Perez or Verstappen. Likely Tusnoda had a hard time to accept that the F2 car was more suitable for him, and therefore he will have a hard time to beat Gasly. Based on the gap between them he might need many races to do so, or maybe it is really about accepting the aforementioned things, because his pace at Q3 was blazing, and he had nice moments at races while he had the patience. I can’t say that he is not dedicated, imo looking at his stature he was super dedicated to training, and he is quite fearless as well.

    He really has to cool down and reevaluate. Now he has a nice opportunity as I guess he can start from 7th, his highest ever grid position, after Lando’s penalty. I wish him good luck to live up to that standard.

    Imo he will not be replaced if he finds some tenths and more importantly the reliability and consistency. Then he likely has an opportunity to have at least some races at the next season, because those cars will be more F2-like, more nimble, because of the lower downforce, and clamped down effect of dirty air. There he might functions much better.

    The problem is that there are so many great talents at F2, they are much more prepared than ever, while the retirement age is rising at F1, due to cars becoming more consistent, safe, etc. by time, therefore the aging stars are enjoying their time, instead of “saving their life”.
    F2’s champion can not participate at the next F2 season, meh (would not be more nice to allow a champion to stay, instead of having a good amount of paydrivers at the lower half of the F2 field?). An F2 car is comparable to an Indycar considering their costs. F2 became an almost exclusively feeder series, instead of a very perstigeous series what the tier of it likely was much before. If someone can not prove oneself at F2 in some years, then will becaome a stalled talent, and likely will not ever make it to a decent seat of F1, unless having practically infinite founds. Where to go then?
    I’d say it would be nice to go to a much more practical, much less contractual obligation-ridden world, where money talks much more than it should.

    1. Jockey Ewing
      6th June 2021, 11:30

      … much less than it used to :)

      1. Does money talk less than it used to? I wouldn’t say so. It’s just that now instead of coming from the tobacco companies it is coming from the driver’s families or other sponsors. Pay drivers have been around for decades, with the state in the 1980s and 1990s being much worse than today. And even driver moves like Damon Hill to Jordan only happened because Benson and Hedges were paying A LOT of money for him.

        1. Jockey Ewing
          6th June 2021, 15:14

          Sorry, not does, but it should :)
          Damon Hill is and was one of my biggest favorites. I’m always happy to see him.
          I think the roots of the problems are very deep, it is almost always down to greed and similar common traits, therefore these problems will not be solved soon.

  4. He’s got the pace. He’ll figure it out and crash less with experience. Nearly all rookies go through this phase.

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