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New CEO insists Tsunoda ’has to deliver’ in 2024

"It gets tough when the driver loses his nerve"

By GMM

15 December 2023 - 08:23
New CEO insists Tsunoda 'has (...)

Yuki Tsunoda may be on his last chance to shine in Formula 1 next year.

The Japanese made his debut for Red Bull’s second team Alpha Tauri in 2021, but many regard him as a feisty and diminutive driver rather than a true contender to make the move up to Red Bull Racing.

Perhaps more ominously for Tsunoda, 23, is that his entire career has been backed by Honda - Red Bull’s engine partner that is moving over to Aston Martin in 2026.

"There were a lot of mistakes in the first two years," former F1 driver Christian Klien told Servus TV this week when asked about Tsunoda’s progress.

"He was also very hot-headed. He had to cut off his horns a bit. But we also saw that with Max Verstappen," the Austrian said.

"You can tell that the routine is coming in now, as Yuki had a great season. You can now also hear on the radio that he has become calmer - or the FIA is no longer showing us everything, anyway," Klien laughed.

"In any case, he has matured into a good driver who can achieve good results."

But is a "good driver" good enough for Alpha Tauri, especially as it seeks to shed its junior team image next year and has race winner Daniel Ricciardo in the other car?

"For us, the focus is that Yuki has to deliver," the Faenza based team’s new CEO Peter Bayer told Servus TV.

"When a few thousandths are at stake in the Formula 1 midfield, it gets tough when the driver loses his nerve. But mentally, Tsunoda has improved significantly. His racing engineer Mattia Spini also tells me that."

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