Alpha Tauri have had a poor Formula One season by their recent standards. During the 2020 season the Italian based outfit scored 107 points finishing P7 in the constructors’ championship. The Red Bull junior team went one better last season with a WCC finish of P6 despite recruiting rookie Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda.
This season the team have slipped to 9th with 4 races to go and are set to lose their lead driver Pierre Gasly to Alpine for the 2023 season.
Yuki Tsunoda will be the de facto team leader as rookie Nyck de Vries replaces Gasly however the Japanese driver admits is feeling the pressure given he’s failed to score points since his P10 at round 6 in Spain.
Tost calls on Tsunoda to control his emotions
By contrast Pierre Gasly has scored in Baku, Budapest, Monza and Singapore as his team mate floundered at times to keep his car out of the barriers most recently during the GP held at the Marina Bay circuit.
Team principal Franz Tost commented on his hot headed driver following a silly mistake during FP2 in Zandvoort.
“He has just to get under control his emotions and he must be more disciplined because to ignore a yellow flag in FP2 is not clever.”
Yuki first driver punished by FIA for reprimands tot up
This transgression earned Tsunoda a reprimand from the stewards which counted as his fifth in a year. Yuki received the mandatory 10 place grid drop next time out in Monza for accumulating 5 reprimands – the first driver to ever receive this punishment since the FIA reprimand system was introduced.
Driver reprimands had little meaning until 2011 when the FIA introduced a “3 strikes” rule to beef up the punishment for transgressions. At that time when a driver received 3 reprimands he was awarded a 5 pace grid drop at the following F1 event. This was later increased to 5 reprimands and a 10 place grid drop.
Yuki is also the driver most at risk of being banned for a Formula One weekend. He currently has 8 penalty points on his license and needs to keep his nose clean for 3 more races or risk accumulating another 4 points and being forced to sit out an F1 weekend.
Tsunoda admits too many mistakes
“For sure the kind of mistakes I did in Singapore, I have to definitely reduce, and other things, for example, penalties,” Tsunoda mused.
“Those things are unnecessary. So those things, definitely I have to improve but at the same time, the pace, especially one lap, I’m quite happy and having good progress so far.”
“So, I’ll just keep like this momentum until the next year.”
About to complete his second season in Formula One, the ‘angry’ man in the cockpit image Tsunoda began cultivating during his F2 career, appears to have no sign of abating. Further the pressure is building on him to contribute to the team’s push to reclaim P8 from Haas F1.
US GP opportunity “to get back in the rhythm”
Tsunoda is hoping to get back to points scoring ways this weekend at the US GP.
“This will be probably a good opportunity to back into the rhythm,” he added.
“But I think still learning, [there are] lots of things, lots of things to learn, but I seem to have quite good confidence to do that.”
Whether Yuki Tsunoda has the presence of mind to become the Alpha tour team leader when he is joined by De Vries is yet to be seen.
Nyck de Vries may finish Tsunoda’s F1 career
De Vries claimed his F1 drive for 2023 following a Stella performance in Monza where he substituted for the hospitalised Alex Albon of Williams. De Vries out qualified Williams full time driver Nicholas Latifi despite the Canadian having around 150 more hours of driving in the 2022 Williams F1 car.
As if to rub salt in the wound, the Dutchman then claimed a P9 in the Italian GP while Lafita was yet to score in any of the previous 15 rounds.
It will certainly be a challenge for Tsunoda to perform the role of team leader for Alpha Tauri next season, particularly if his rookie team mate out performs him over the first few rounds of the 2023 season.
Indeed were Nyck de Vries to deliver better results than the Japanese driver his F1 career would surely be finished.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 20, 2022