Franz Tost tells ‘problem child’ Yuki Tsunoda to get his emotions ‘under control’

Yuki Tsunoda has been retained by AlphaTauri for 2023 but has been warned to improve.

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has called for Yuki Tsunoda to “get under control his emotions”, after a recent run of avoidable incidents.

Tost’s comments came prior to the team announcing that the Japanese driver will be retained for a third season by the Faenza-based team, with Tost believing that “a driver needs at least three years to fully get to grips with Formula 1”.

2023 will, of course, be the 22-year-old’s third and potentially last season, especially if he repeats some of his 2022 antics.

Tsunoda was handed a grid penalty at the recent Italian Grand Prix following his fifth reprimand of the year, after he ignored yellow flags during FP2 at the ‘Temple of Speed’.

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The AlphaTauri driver was also heavily penalised for his bizarre behaviour at the Dutch Grand Prix, where he pulled off the circuit after insisting something was wrong, before driving back to the pit’s moments later at a slow speed with his seatbelt undone.

Despite his occasional odd and erratic behaviour, Tsunoda has become a fan favourite for his humour and bad language over the radio, which has resulted in Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko labelling the young driver as the “Problem Child”.

Tost has warned Tsunoda that he needs to be “more disciplined” and “react in the correct way” when on the circuit.

“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,” Tost said whilst speaking at the Italian GP.

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“I understand that it‘s difficult in qualifying, maybe sometimes in the race, but in a free practice session you in any way have to accept yellow flags and have to react in the correct way, which means you have to slow down.”

Tost has long believed that a rookie needs three seasons to be able to show their full potential and based on some of Tsunoda’s performances in his second season, the 66-year-old might have a valid point.

“His performance is increasing,” Tost said following the opening day at Monza.

“Look to the qualifying: in Zandvoort (P9), look to FP1 here in Monza (P8) — in the car he is doing a really good job.”

AlphaTauri and Marko clearly believe Tsunoda deserves another season, with it now official that the Japanese driver will race for the team in 2023.

Tsunoda is extremely grateful to have been retained, with the Japanese driver now “fully focused” on ending 2022 on a “high”.

“I want to say a huge thank you to Red Bull, Honda and Scuderia AlphaTauri for continuing to give me the opportunity to drive in F1,” Tsunoda said in the team’s official press release.

“Having moved to Italy last year, to be closer to the factory, I really feel part of the team and am glad that I get to carry on racing with them in 2023. Of course, our 2022 season isn’t over yet and we’re still pushing hard in the midfield battle, so I’m fully focused on finishing it on a high and then we will look forward to next year.”

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Who Tsunoda’s team-mate will be next season is unknown, despite Pierre Gasly being contracted with the team for 2023.

Gasly has been heavily linked with a move to Alpine, something AlphaTauri won’t stop Gasly from accepting.

Should the Frenchman move to the Enstone-based team, then Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries looks set to be the favourite to replace Gasly, after the Dutch driver had a meeting with Marko in Austria.