AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost has said that Yuki Tsunoda’s outbursts on the radio over the course of 2021 are “not good for the team” and added that he will discourage the 21-year-old from blowing off steam in a public manner in the future.
Tsunoda was signed to AlphaTauri for his rookie year in Formula 1 in 2021, and sparks frequently flew as the young Japanese became renowned for publicly shouting at his team on the radio on a number of occasions.
He scored points seven times over the course of 2021, ending the season 14th in the Drivers’ Standings.
His best finish came by way of a P4 in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, showing signs of the improvements he made as the season wore on. However, he is uneasy with some of his behaviour earlier in the year.
“I feel a lot of regret. I always try to control what I say, but sometimes it’s hard. I am pushing hard. I always want to improve,” Tsunoda said in an interview with Formula1.com.
Tost, who became team principal of the outfit when they were established in 2006 as Toro Rosso, says he struggles to understand why Tsunoda gets wound up so quickly.
“You can say to him, ‘Please don’t say this, it’s not good for your image, it’s not good for the team, be quiet’ and then he closes the visor, sits in the car, has a problem for whatever reason, and he gets upset,” Tost said.
However, the 65-year-old understands that emotions run high while racing, and that the adrenaline running through Tsunoda is difficult to contain, particularly as he is such an inexperienced racer.
“People must understand this is an F1 car. There must be an aggression from the drivers, it’s not just rolling around. They must have this adrenaline otherwise they can’t show this performance.”
The Austrian will ask Tsunoda to refrain from shouting at the team over the radio next year, as it is harmful both to him and everyone at AlphaTauri.
“I will request him not to do it,” Tost explained. “He can shout to himself and not switch on the radio. It hurts him, and it hurts the team.”
Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, who moved Tsunoda to Italy so that he could work more closely with AlphaTauri earlier this year, believes that the young driver’s aggression over the radio – which included numerous expletives – also affected his reputation in Japan.
“His language isn’t very Japanese. It gives him bad publicity back in Japan. I’m not sure if he knows the meaning,” Dr Marko warned.
Tsunoda will remain with AlphaTauri in 2022, once again partnering Frenchman Pierre Gasly. The 25-year-old finished ninth in the Drivers’ Standings in 2021, scoring a podium finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
AlphaTauri ended up sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, on 142 points.