‘I haven’t seen him out of control’: Tost rubbishes Tsunoda claim on debut season in F1

Yuki Tsunoda was a source of entertainment during his first season with AlphaTauri, but Franz Tost insists that he had a good year.

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has rubbished Yuki Tsunoda’s own claim that he was “out of control” in 2021, adding that the mistakes he made were only to be expected from a rookie.

Tsunoda’s occasional incongruity to hard work was showcased in the latest Drive to Survive season, and the frequent profanity over the team radio was also highlighted.

Partway through the year, he was moved to Italy by Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko to encourage him to focus and work conjointly with his engineers.

The young Japanese said during the series that he was “out of control,” but this is not what Tost saw, with the Austrian emphasising that the 21-year-old achieved some satisfactory results.

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“I haven’t seen him out of control. What happened with Yuki is normal in the first year with a rookie,” he said during pre-season testing in Bahrain.

“He had some fantastic results. I remember here in Bahrain he was in ninth position, at Imola he crashed in qualifying, but later he had some very good results.”

Pierre Gasly out-qualified Tsunoda 21-1 last season in a further emphatic statement of his belief that he deserves to return to the Red Bull team, and Tost testifies that this made the three-time Formula 2 race winner look worse than he really is.

“It was ups and downs. It’s normal with a young driver in Formula 1. Maybe Yuki was a little bit unlucky with Pierre, because Pierre showed such a good performance that his performance sometimes didn’t come in the correct light,” he explained.

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“At the end of the season, you should all remember he was fourth in Abu Dhabi, which was a fantastic result for him. And I think we will see a quite competitive Yuki this year.”

The budget cap this season sits at $140 million, meaning that crashes at the regularity that Tsunoda was shunting last year will put AlphaTauri in jeopardy, as Tost confirms that the Italian side are already close to the limit.

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“It’s his second season, this year will not be everything smooth, there will also be some ups and downs but that’s normal, it’s part of the learning process,” he stated.

“I just hope the crash period is very, very small because it’s not only to destroy the car and lose points. Now, it’s counting also with the cost cap and this year we are totally on the limit.

“Therefore, I hope our drivers will not be involved in such incidents and then the rest we will see.”