Has Tsunoda raised his game or just benefitted from Gasly’s misfortunes?

2022 F1 team mate battles: Tsunoda vs Gasly

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Last year, Yuki Tsunoda was the only rookie driver to be paired with a non-rookie team mate, and it showed.

This partnership was among the most one-sided on the grid in 2021, Pierre Gasly almost always out-qualifying Tsunoda and showing him the way home. To Tsunoda’s relief, he put one over his team mate at the final race, and went into the off-season on a high.

He has fared better on his return, cutting his deficit to Gasly in every area. But there may be more to this than meets the eye.

(L to R): Yuki Tsunoda, Pierre Gasly, Silverstone, 2022
Tsunoda took his team mate out at Silverstone
Unfortunately for both drivers, their car has proved significantly less competitive than its predecessor. Worse, the update the team introduced in France doesn’t seem to have brought the leap forward they hoped for, or has been cancelled out by the gains made by their rivals.

As a result the pair head into the summer break having collected just three points-scoring finishes each. There might have been another, at Silverstone, but a poorly-judged move by Tsunoda on his team mate ruined both drivers’ races.

The current state of affairs doesn’t really suit either driver. If Tsunoda is to win the faith of Red Bull, and avoid his seat being nabbed by one of their swathes of junior drivers, he needs to out-perform Gasly.

Tsunoda vs Gasly season summary

Meanwhile Gasly has already had a shot at Red Bull and a return before 2025 isn’t going to happen. In order to impress another top team he needs to decisively put Tsunoda in his shadow.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Monaco, 2022
Gasly was flying in Monaco before bad luck struck
Incidents like Silverstone will make it harder to do that. And it’s not the only misfortune Gasly has encountered this year. In Monaco he indirectly suffered at his team mate’s hand, missing his chance to progress to Q1 after Tsunoda triggered a red flag, and starting near the back having run well inside the top 10 before qualifying. He should have been in Q3 in Austria but the stewards messed up a track limits call on Sergio Perez.

On other occasions Gasly has mounted impressive recoveries from poor starting positions but not been rewarded with points scores. He took 12th after Imola after being hit by Zhou Guanyu in the sprint race, 11th in Monaco after his qualifying misfortune was especially impressive, and 12th in Hungary after falling foul of a debatable track limits call in qualifying.

If Gasly gets a change in fortune in the second half of 2022, Tsunoda may no longer measure up quite so well against him.

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Tsunoda vs Gasly race-by-race

Tsunoda Q

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Tsunoda vs Gasly qualifying performance

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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...

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36 comments on “Has Tsunoda raised his game or just benefitted from Gasly’s misfortunes?”

  1. 2 horrendous drivers still in f1. Worst line-up in f1. Haas is awful, Aston is loathsome, Alfa romeo is appalling but AT is repugnant.

    1. Click Bait.

    2. if this is your opinion you don’t know much about F1.
      Both are good drivers but the car is not good this year.

      1. Yuki is a good driver for sure. But not sure he is a good F1 driver

  2. Why do you make it out as though only Gasly has had misfortune this season? Saudi Arabia Tsunoda couldn’t compete in qualifying or the race due to engine issues, Canada he had a grid penalty due to his engine changes so only competed in Q1, Baku he had the rear wing failure robbing him of 6th, France Ocon ploughed into his car when he looked good to get points. On the whole I’d say both drivers misfortune evens out and the current results and points is a fairly accurate representation of how they have both performed this season.

    1. Good point. But as much as I would have loved to see Yuki shine I can’t help but feel he is on his way out. Maybe the same applies to Gasly… think he would deserve a chance at Alpine or McLaren (being snubbed by Red Bull for a seat).

  3. More ridiculous double standard anti Yuki clickbait…The previous news article basically worships zhou who has been destroyed by Bottas calling him a victim of “poor luck” but Yuki Tsunoda who has matched Gasly is out of his depth and a failure..?

    Unlike zhou who has had a million seasons in f2/f3 being a midfield pest Yuki was 3rd in his first F2 season and I personally think he needed one more year in F2 and would be a favourite for the title last year.

    Upper Japanese management at Honda forcing him into f1 in an alien Italian team where he does not speak the language and personnel who do not like him or want him there in retrospect was the wrong decision. Also the no existent development of the car this year has made them a backmarker team so Yukis lack of performance is due to the car.

    Hopefully Yuki at AT and their near non development of the 2022 car is a sign that Honda are going to outright purchase the team similar to Takuma Sato at BAR in the early 00’s

  4. Tsunoda has upped his game, Gasly isn’t driving as well as last year and the car sucks compared to last years. Pretty much.

    1. @lejimster82 If you were to look at Gasly’s last three seasons, he had scored way more points by the half way point compared to this season (avg. 50 pts at 1/2 way point for 3 seasons), he only has 16 pts this season so yeah I think he’s having a very bad year and Tsunoda has improved due to not punting the car off track as much as he did last year so that’s a plus and making himself look better than teammate.

      I would still bet my peanut butter & jelly sandwich, that Gasly will improve and handily beat Tsunoda at the end of the season. This car doesn’t seem that fast and less pointy for Gasly’s liking (like Ricciardo).

  5. Gasly seems uninterested and stalled. His career not going anywhere, he is exactly where he started. He should seek out of this team for the sake of his future.
    The car is a step back but Tsunoda got a little better. It would be difficult to get worse than last season anyway.

    1. @Edvaldo Prematurely ending contracts is generally possible, but unfortunately, Gasly seemingly doesn’t push for a relationship’s end a year early.
      He should’ve become proactive in this regard already about two years ago, like Sainz in 2017, as his career indeed isn’t going anywhere while he’d stalled in RB’s B-team without a re-promotion chance anymore.

    2. Gasly has a great opportunity now to go to Alpine if he can be released by AT.

      Right now Gasly is a ‘maybe’, he did well last year but his RB debut as well as his performance this year have been less than stellar. He needs a good season against a known quantity to raise his stock.

      Enter Alpine, who have a car that is at least competitive enough to fight for points every race, who have an unexpectedly open seat and not a lot of time/options to fill it.
      Moreover, Ocon is exactly the sort of known-qunatity-midfield-performer that Gasly needs to show he can outperform if he wants to ever get another shot at a top team (and vice-versa as well I would imagine). The fact that Gasly is French is just the icing on the cake.

      And from Alpine’s point of view, a young but still experienced potential of French origin should be a lot higher on their list than a Ricciardo, who is at best a huge risk in his current form.

      For AT/RB it’s not a complete loss either, as they open up a seat to ‘try out’ new drivers without dumping Yuki and thereby alienating Honda.

  6. I was reading through this no then it just abruptly ends with a rather dire warning for Tsunoda? What gives? Feels rather biased I must say.

    Tsunoda undoubtedly had a bit of a stinker last year with too many offs. However he’s done no worse than Schumacher or drivers like Grosjean.

    Hell even future champions like Russell have binned it completely out of the blue.

    Tsunoda certainly seems largely far improved this year, even with the worse performing AT. Gassy has stagnated it seems.

    I do feel like certain nationalities of drivers get a far tougher airing out meanwhile certain others get endless concessions in their favour.

    1. Wow. You are such an expert. Comparing Grosjean with Tsunoda lol. Grosjean got 10 podiums with Lotus. And even at HAAS outqualified Magnussen over 4 years.(37-36)

      1. Grosjean first season wasn’t with Lotus, it was with Renault for 7 races in 2009 and he was kinda awful with his best place a 13 while teammate Alonso put that car on the podium, he got dropped for Petrov.

        Even in his best Lotus years (2012-2013) in which he got 9 of his 10 total career podiums he still was miles away from Kimi scoring only 96 to his teammate 207 in 2012, with a 1 race ban which he got by being a totally very clean, very safe driver of course, and in 2013 he scored 132 to his teammate 183 who missed the last two races so you could say he barely improved.

        Also Grosjean was 23 in 2009, Tsunoda is still 22, he got a ton of years to reach Grosjean Lotus years peak (26-27), he’s far better than Grosjean when he was 22.

        1. I always hate mid-season rookie driver swaps. Neither Grosjean, Ocon, Vettel or Ricciardo impressed and got outqualified by their teammates. So I won’t read too much into it. Plus I feel bad for Piquet JR. and Vandoorne. Because going up against Alonso in a difficult car is a career ender.

          First of all Grosjean is inconsistent and somewhat unreliable in the races. But he has always been fast since day 1 at Lotus. He outqualified Kimi in 2012(10-9). And became a consistent podium finisher in 2013 latter half. He drove the wheels off 2014/2015 Lotus and utterly destroyed Maldonado 28-6 in qualifying. And at Haas he matched Magnussen in qualifying(37-36) but Magnussen was more reliable in the races. And you can see with clear eyes how fast Magnussen is. 11-2 in qualifying already over Mick Schumacher. So comparing Tsunoda with Grosjean is a bit silly. Maybe Alex Wurz is a better comparison with Tsunoda. 3 years with a very good midfield teammate and sometimes matched Fisichella. But overall got destroyed mostly. Last year Gasly outqualified Tsunoda 19-1 with over half a second gap.

  7. GAS is the new JEV. Used and abused by the RBR program. Stalled and value proposition dropping every race. It’s unfortunate.

    1. Gasly’s talent development is stagnating at Alpha Tauri. He should move on to a different team — preferably Alpine — in order to move on to the next stage in his career. Otherwise, he might indeed end up like JEV.

      1. Don’t think this is the right comparison. JEV only has 51 career points. Gasly has 325.

        1. JEV only raced 3 seasons, never drove a Red Bull, and drove some of the worst cars STR ever made.
          It’s not about stats, it’s about finding a way to stay without a link to Red Bull.

          JEV wasn’t even an option for any team after he was sacked. Had to make do with a Ferrari simulator driver gig. Gasly has to leave AT while he is still a prospect. If he takes too long, he may be a new JEV.

          1. At the end of the day which team you drive for doesn’t matter. What matters is how good that car is. And with the cars he has had Gasly has performed outstandingly in a midfield team for 2 and a half years getting 3 podiums. The right comparison with Gasly is his compatriot Ocon imo.

          2. It matters because Red Bull have no intention of promoting him back to the main team and AT is never going to get beyond its sister team role. So he’s stuck in a team with no perspective until they decide to bring some younger guy and he’ll be out of a seat.

            Ocon at least have a deal with a works team, he’s in a much better situation.

          3. Again. I get your point. But realistically Alpine aren’t a podium contender either. So I’m actually OK with Gasly staying at AT. It’s a good midfield team. However I pity Alex Albon. He is stuck in that dreadful excuse of a team Williams. Plus Gasly has one more podium and more points in a single season(110) than Ocon lol.

          4. Alpine isn’t a top team but it can be (unlikely, sure) whereas AT won’t ever be a top team, it’s purpose is to be a supporting team for the drivers program. And Gasly is already too old to be there.

            In fact, take a good look on all the drivers that they had : apart from Sainz, who pushed for a move, everyone else was either promoted or dropped out of F1.

            Gasly isn’t going to be promoted, that is clear.

          5. Staying at Alphhatauri is way better than going to that dreadful Williams. At least Gasly will have weekends like Azerbaijan where he can be and fight for best of the rest. And when exactly was Alpine a top team in the turbo-hybrid era? They have been underachieving ever since the Lotus days in 2012/2013+2015 Spa podium. I thought staying at AT is absolutely the correct decision. Plus if Gasly wasn’t at AT their driver line-up would be weak unless they can bring in Albon from Williams. If Albon moves away from Williams their driver line-up would be dreadful too. Not only their car.

          6. It doesn’t matter if AT is “weak-ass” mate, they are a tool to the driving program, nothing more. They will take good performing drivers out and bring newcomers whenever there’s someone on the line.

            It’s not like Gasly can stay there as long as he want or does well. His days there are numbered too.

            Alguesuari, JEV, not so much Kvyat, these guys all did well there. Look at where they are now, how it turned out great for them to expect a promotion for the top team without any backup plan.

          7. I’m not judging drivers by the amount of podiums they got at all. But it’s actually rare that good F1 drivers don’t get an F1 podium. Maybe Hulkenberg and Di Resta(and maybe Sutil) but all of the others have gotten podiums. So I don’t see the comparison between Gasly with Buemi/Alguersuari/JEV. Gasly has done the absolute best that any non Ferrari/Mercedes/Red Bull driver can do. He got 3 podiums, a win and a ton of points(110 in 2021). So I don’t think he is that much interested in going to another midfield team. Plus with him being there Alphatauri has a good driver line-up. Pairing Tsunoda with another rookie is a recipe for disaster. And at this point I don’t see any promising Red Bull juniors like Kvyat(won gp3(2013), Sainz(won FR3.5(2014), Verstappen, Gasly(won gp2(2016)) and Albon(P2 to Leclerc in 2016 GP3, P3 to Norris and Russell in 2018 F2) in the junior ranks.

          8. Alpha Tauri is backed by Red Bull. They DON’T NEED results. They ‘re going to be there anyway regardless of being scoreless with two bad drivers.
            It’s not a team for a driver to make a career on. They do their years there and move on, making space for the next guy. Tsunoda is only there because of Honda. If any other young guy from the program comes with a good backing, he’s taking Gasly’s seat regardless of how well he’s been driving. Simple as that.

            The only reason he’s still there is because he thinks he’s getting another shot at the main. And he likely won’t.
            Sainz had the guts to leave for another midfield team tand now drives for Ferrari. That’s the example he should follow.

          9. You haven’t noticed how Helmut Marko operates. There is little chance they would partner a rookie with Tsunoda. They would either keep Gasly/bring in Albon or sack both the current drivers and put 2 new drivers in like they did in 2012, 2015 and 2018. But I don’t see any promising Red Bull junior with results right now that would encourage Marko to find 2 new drivers let alone 1. So Alphatauri and Marko are a bit desperate to keep Gasly on for 2023. If Gasly goes Tsunoda go too. Unless Albon comes back next year which is not a possibilty right now because he just signed a contract with Williams.

          10. Even Albon is in a better situation actually. Anything beyond the ordinary coming from him is a big deal.
            Gasly on the other hand is looking unimpressive and done despite the better car. Nobody cares about what he did 2 years ago, what matters is the present, just look at Ricciardo.

            That’s why i think he should leave. This guy needs a fresh start.

          11. The situations between Albon and Gasly are different. Gasly had his success with AlphaTauri after the Red Bull failure. Albon was looking at anything to get onto the grid in 2022 after his own Red Bull failure. But now for Gasly Williams just isn’t an intriguing option at all. Williams is good for Albon but not for Gasly. If Williams doesn’t improve in 2023 there is a very realistic chance Albon will come back to AlphaTauri in 2024 to replace Gasly. This just isn’t similar to the Ricciardo situation. Because Ricciardo moved to a new team and fell flat on his face. Like I said when Gasly leaves Tsunoda will follow suit if Albon doesn’t come back. But AT is a bit desperate to keep Gasly because they have no promising Red Bull juniors at the moment. To field 2 new drivers

          12. I didnt say anywhere that Williams is a good option for Gasly.

            And as for Ricciardo, he’s on the border of unemployment because he is looking bad, not because he’s on a new team, Gasly is not looking very hot at the moment. One more season like this and he’ll likelt be done as an option as well. The wheels are moving everywhere while he’s iddle waiting Red Bull to drop Perez.

          13. Tbh, Ricciardo is a mystery. If Sainz comes back to McLaren he would be on par with Norris. But Ricciardo just can’t seem to drive that car properly for whatever reason. Not sure if he is on a decline or just team specific. As for Gasly, Alphatauri needs him desperately for 2023 to either partner Tsunoda or some other rookie. They don’t have many options tbh.

  8. Alfa Tauri has been rather anonymous this year. Once again they are showing promise here and there, but often fail to deliver, and during the races they are regularly in the “also ran” category outside the top 10.

    In terms of drivers, I think both are doing an okay job. Nothing special which is weird, because Gasly last year was pretty good.

    1. (And it seems they’ve been so anonymous I even forgot how to spell the team’s name correctly :D)

  9. Gasly is a disappointment this year (although I understand it is hard to keep superior performance and motivation for many years, seemingly stuck at AT forever…). I don’t understand why he rushed to extend his contract with AT after Perez’s extension had been announced – it was clear that seats would be soon available at other teams.

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