2022 was an extremely challenging year for AlphaTauri, following multiple seasons of getting closer to the front of the midfield battle.
The new aerodynamic regulations certainly weren’t kind to the Faenza-based side, nor to Yuki Tsunoda or Pierre Gasly.
After claiming a podium for three years in a row from 2019-2021, it was back to reality for the Italians in 2022, with the team’s best result having been fifth at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix thanks to Gasly.
Tsunoda’s best result was P7 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with the Japanese driver having only achieved a top 10 finish four times in his second season of Formula 1.
This is considerably less than he achieved in his rookie season, where he still made countless errors.
In 2021, the Japanese driver claimed seven points finishes and ended the year on 32 points. In 2022 he scored just 12.
As a team, AlphaTauri claimed a woeful ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, whilst Tsunoda was P17 in the Drivers’ Championship.
Despite the struggles, though, Tsunoda is “pretty happy” with how his sophomore season went and is hoping to carry some momentum into his make or break third season in F1.
“I would say in general, physical side, mentality side, and driving side,” he said, per Speedcafe.
“I think overall I’m pretty happy, especially I would say now I’ve been relaxing in the race week, especially Thursday, Friday.
“I didn’t know how to approach [them] and I was stressing consistently, especially last year and rushing everything.
“That makes a little bit of stress, or was frustrating, and made it a little bit difficult.
“But now I can kind of relax and I know how to adapt to any situation,” he added.
“So, feeling confident, and anything that happens, like the things I didn’t expect, still I know how to handle it.
“I think overall this year I’m pretty happy about how I progressed every race and I think probably I can continue, or even more, this momentum.”
2023 is set to be a huge year for Tsunoda, who will likely be dropped at the end of the season if he fails to deliver.
Team principal Franz Tost is a firm believer that a driver needs three years in F1 to show their full potential, meaning Tsunoda must perform.
He will also have a new team-mate alongside him, with Gasly having departed for Alpine.
Nyck de Vries will be partnering Tsunoda next season for what will be his rookie year, with their perhaps being pressure on the 22-year-old to beat the Season Seven Formula E World Champion.