Tsunoda “improved massively” in second season of F1, says Gasly

2022 F1 season

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Pierre Gasly expects Yuki Tsunoda will raise his game at AlphaTauri next year, having seen the progress his team mate has made this year.

With Gasly set to leave the team at the end of 2022, after six years and 96 grands prix, Tsunoda will become their longest-serving current driver. Nyck de Vries will make his debut as a full-time driver alongside him.

De Vries is five years older than Tsunoda and has won the F2 and Formula E championships. Although Gasly believe Tsunoda has made rapid gains since making his debut in F1 last year, only time will tell whether he’s got what it takes to lead the team” Gasly says.

“His path to Formula 1 was kind of fast-forward,” Gasly explained. “He went Formula 4, Formula 3, F2, straight to F1 at quite a young age. Not so much experience.

“Only time will tell, but for sure he’s improved massively this year. I would not be surprised to see him improving again next season.”

Tsunoda raced as a Honda junior in Japanese F4 for two seasons, winning the 2018 title, which put him on Red Bull’s radar. The F1 team brought him to Europe in 2019 as one of their juniors, and Tsunoda won races in Euroformula Open and the FIA F3 Championship.

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In 2020 he won races in the Toyota Racing Series before stepping up to F2 and fighting for the title as a rookie, earning himself an F1 seat with Red Bull’s junior team. Gasly believes Tsunoda is aware of where he must make improvements in the future.

“I think he knows what he needs to work on: A bit of self-control,” said Gasly. “He knows that, and I mean he’s got good people around him and I think this environment is also good for him to really develop as a better driver.”

AlphaTauri planned to keep Tsunoda and Gasly as its drivers next year until Red Bull released the latter from his contract so he could move to Alpine. Gasly said he’s enjoyed his time alongside his junior team mate.

“He doesn’t live that far from my house in Milan, so I’m sure we will get some more time off-season to catch up,” Gasly said at the recent Mexican Grand Prix.

“There is no bullshit with Yuki and that’s one thing I really appreciate. Everything which goes through his mind is out of his mouth in a flash of light. He’s a very unique character. He’s got a great sense of humour, no filter, which can be quite surprising at times.

“He’s a great human being, and I really enjoyed his last two years, also seeing him evolve within the team. Also, as a person I think he has developed quite a lot, and definitely someone I appreciate and I happily call as a friend.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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6 comments on “Tsunoda “improved massively” in second season of F1, says Gasly”

  1. I think Tsunoda has been the most improved driver from last year, as difficult as some may find that to believe. His outright speed in a qualifying lap has their qualifying battle at 12-8 however 3 of those qualifying he took no part in. Saudi Arabia his engine packed in without setting a lap, Canada he had an engine penalty so sat out qualifying after setting one Q3 lap to get through, and the same again in Italy – although there he accrued penalties for his own misjudgements so can be blamed on him. Regardless their battle is closer than appears 9-8 or 10-8 which is a big improvement from last year. One more season together and I think Tsunoda would be beating Gasly in qualifying at least.

    The problem is Tsunoda continues to make some big errors, that’s the thing he needs to work on more than anything.

    1. Yes, indeed, he is too hot-headed. I’m not sure he is going to improve into greatness. I wish it for him, as I do for anyone that works this hard at their dream. But I think he should have already calmed down a lot more by now. There are little red flags fluttering in the back of my mind when I talk about Tsunoda.

      1. The truth is Gasly is making more mistakes this season than Yuki. All his collisions on lap 1, collisions with the Astons…pushing off the track.. He had a lot of it and his mistakes are more disturbing because they are due to poor racecraft. Tsunoda had two twin errors, more due to inexperience and on the same ground (cold tires after leaving the pit and in Singapore half of grid made mistakes). The move on Gasly in Silverstone was almost done and he would probably have gotten it if he hadn’t had such worn-out tires. Considering how many collisions with other drivers we have already seen this season, Yuki drives clean, and his maneuvers are impressive but he doesn’t get screen time. And it is only in its 2nd year. He brought little bills to his team because his accidents were inexpensive (remember what was last year?)Not comparing to Schumacher… And a friend above mentioned above about qualifying. This is a huge improvement and Gasly has been driving here for almost 6 years.

      2. Gasly has been quite underwhelming since he became more and more frustraded, and Tsunoda has had a few bigger mistakes this season, but was less up and down than last year. I guess the car being less competitive has also helped to mask progress, since last year we saw some really special qualifying and race results from both drivers, but also some really off weekends when things went wrong @shimks, @laz.

  2. No, Tsunoda needed to bet Gasly convincingly in order to be an average f1 driver.

  3. After that statement Gasly went to his hotel room and giggled all night counting the cash from AT Japanese sponsors…

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