Yuki Tsunoda’s rookie season in Formula 1 has been, so far, a mixed bag. Very inexperienced in his debut in the elite – in 2018 he was still racing in Formula 4 – Tsunoda has shown some speed but also a notable inconsistency, with several accidents. He is also known to have lost his cool on the radio on several occasions. To date, he is 14th in the drivers’ championship with 10 points, 29 points behind his teammate, Pierre Gasly.
Tsunoda’s difficulties were such that Red Bull decided to move him from England to Faenza, Italy, where his team’s factory, Scuderia AlphaTauri is located, to put him through a more rigorous daily training program under the wing of the team manager. Franz Tost.
In dialogue with Motorsport-Total, which is part of the Motorsport Network, Helmut Marko, is sure of his potential: “At Red Bull and AlphaTauri we are 100% convinced that he is a future winner.”
“Tsunoda is not your typical Japanese,” continues the Red Bull sports advisor. “The typical Japanese – we have one in Formula 3 with Ayumu Iwasa – is polite, disciplined and would never make statements like Tsunoda’s. But Tsunoda, at the same time, is so refreshing that we have to figure out how to maintain his undeniable speed and attitude, which are generally well received, while instilling more discipline in the way he works and in his physical preparation. That was not the case in England.
“We have looked at his performances, which were sensational in Bahrain. Then there were some absolutely stupid accidents, like in Q1 of qualifying at Imola, on his first lap. When you have a car capable of reaching Q3, put it in the car. The wall is annoying. You have to get it on track without stripping it of its aggressiveness and light heart. Because it’s amazing how well it drives in fast corners, for example. ” It says, “It’s at least Gasly level (on those curves).”
Marko wants to reiterate one of the principles of Red Bull: not formatting pilots and letting their personalities unfold freely … up to a point, of course: “It is part of our training system to foster individual personality. We do not train in front of the camera, we do not invite journalists to train them for interviews. All these things that oppress people and make them appear equal to others, we don’t want them. We want these individual characters. But for that you have to tell them when they do something wrong. “
Marko is loved and feared in equal measure for his frankness with pilots, to the point where legend has it that some of his protégés tremble at the thought of having to speak to him. Tsunoda has been through that too.
“We only discussed the facts, that he crashed a car on the first lap of Q1 when he would have easily passed into Q3. You don’t win qualifying in Q1. And you also have to manage the race, although he is already very good at it. tire management. Everyone shaking is silly. We just discussed the facts clearly, “concluded Marko.