AlphaTauri make Yuki Tsunoda demand as he faces sacking

Yuki Tsunoda finished 17th in last season’s drivers’ championship, three places behind his teammate Pierre Gasly.

The major regulation changes that came into effect at the beginning of last season proved to be a stumbling block for some teams, with AlphaTauri in particular struggling to adapt to the changes.

The team went from sixth place in 2021 with 142 points, to ninth in 2022 with a measly 35 points.

With their driver lineup of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda being the same in both seasons, it was really the uncompetitive of their car that hindered the team, seeing them fall away from the front of the midfield.

22-year-old Yuki Tsunoda has been steady at best over the course of his two seasons with AlphaTauri, not setting the world alight but also not falling too far below expectations.

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This season the Japanese driver will take up a different role with the team, as he will be looked at as the team leader following the departure of Pierre Gasly to Alpine.

With the team looking to climb back up the championship this year, AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has called for Tsunoda to bring home a bigger haul of points that last season, suggesting that after two seasons in the sport it is time to perform.

“Last year, Yuki struggled with the car,” said Tost.

“This year, as I expect we will have quite a competitive car, Yuki must always aim to be in Q3 and finish the races in the points.

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“He is a very highly-skilled driver and now has a lot of experience with two seasons in Formula 1. For this reason, of course, he has to score many more points that he did last year.”

The dynamic at AlphaTauri will be a strange one this year, as 22-year-old Tsunoda will be viewed as the team leader with two years of experience, while his 28-year-old teammate Nyck de Vries technically still remains a rookie.

Having spent two years learning from Gasly and slowing getting to grips with F1, the 2023 season could be a now or never year for Tsunoda, who will be looking to cement his place on the grid for the foreseeable future.