AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has admitted that Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda “learned” to deal with his temper over the radio last season, with the young driver having seemingly become far too comfortable with swearing to his team.
Tsunoda’s lack of control over his emotions was something that many identified as an area that was halting his development, with the vast majority of his radio messages involving a curse word of some form.
His foul-mouthed antics have gained him a following, though, with Tsunoda having comically labelled the Bahrain International Circuit as “f***ing traffic paradise” on his F1 debut in 2021.
Tsunoda’s language remained an issue for the bulk of his rookie season and some of last season; however, he’s definitely turned a corner.
Since reducing his explicit radio messages, Tsunoda’s performances have actually improved, with the Japanese driver having given former team-mate Pierre Gasly a real run for his money in the latter stages of last season.
His improvements ultimately resulted in the 22-year-old being awarded another one-year extension, keeping him at the Faenza-based team for the forthcoming season.
Tost praised Tsunoda’s development and his improved communication skills in particular, with the hope being that the duo can enjoy a solid 2023 campaign.
“He has developed quite well,” Tost told GPFans.
“It was not an easy season for him because it was always dependent on car performance.
“But I must say he improved a lot, especially in the last few races. He was also quite strong in qualifying.
“He learned. There were hardly any bad communications or emotional communications on the radio.”
2023 has been tipped by many as Tsunoda’s do-or-die season at the pinnacle of motorsport, with it being his third campaign.
Tost has previously expressed his belief that a driver needs three seasons in the sport to prove themselves, meaning its time for Tsunoda to shine should he want a contract for 2024.
The Japanese driver will also have the added pressure this year of being the more experienced driver in the team, with rookie Nyck de Vries having been signed to replace Gasly.
De Vries, though, isn’t your regular rookie, with the 27-year-old being a former Formula 2 and Formula E World Champion, who also claimed a points finish after replacing Alex Albon at Monza last season.
It’s vital for Tsunoda to improve in 2023, as being beaten by the Dutch driver will likely spell the end of his F1 career, with Tost adding that the young driver needs to “improve in all different aspects” to reach that all-important “next level” of performance.
“He improved the technical understanding from the mechanical side, from the aerodynamic side, he also improved a little bit the tyre management in the race,” Tost added.
“Then he simply needs to be more concentrated on Formula 1, to be better prepared for everything. It’s all the different areas, everything a little bit more.
“It’s not that Yuki doesn’t have one big deficiency. No. He is quite good, he is there, but he has to improve in all the different aspects to achieve at the next level.”