AlphaTauri expecting "crashes" but rapid progress from Tsunoda
AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost is expecting rookie driver Yuki Tsunoda to start to perform "quite quickly" in Formula 1 - albeit with "some crashes" along the way.
Tsunoda is one of three rookies on the grid this season alongside Haas duo Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
The 20-year-old Japanese driver has made the step up to F1 after just one season in F2 in which he finished third overall and won the Anthoine Hubert award as the highest-placed rookie.
Reflecting on his driver's impressive junior racing CV, Tost said: “When he was driving in the Japanese F4 championship he was selected by Honda, who supported him. In 2019, he also became a Red Bull Junior driver.
"He moved to Europe to compete in the F3 championship and in 2020 he was running in the F2 series.
"We expect his learning curve to be quite steep, so he should be able to achieve a good performance quite quickly.
"Of course, he will have some crashes, that’s part of the development programme, but what is very extraordinary on his side is the car control, his strength on the braking and his speed in fast corners.
"If he continues his learning process like he did at the tests in Imola and Abu Dhabi last year, I’m sure we will see some fantastic races."
Last season, the Red Bull sister team scored over 100 points for the first time in its history, which includes its former guise as Toro Rosso, en route to finishing seventh in the standings.
AlphaTauri also scored the second victory in its history when Pierre Gasly won the Italian Grand Prix.
Tost believes the Frenchman has a lot to teach Tsunoda, adding: “Pierre is a very high-skilled driver and he now also has the necessary experience to be a leader in the team and for Yuki.
"Every driver compares themselves with their team-mate so the better the latter is, the more you are pushed to improve yourself.
"Yuki can learn a lot from Pierre in all aspects, for example comparing the lap times, the set-up of the car, the driving lines. This is all very important, especially on those tracks that are new to Yuki.
"If you have a strong and experienced team-mate you can compare many different parameters, which help to improve your own performance."
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