Tsunoda completes F1 test at Imola

Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda has completed his maiden day behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, clocking up more than 350 kilometres of running for AlphaTauri at Imola.

It was part of a programme designed to see him in action during Friday practice in Abu Dhabi next month.

“Today’s session, my first time in a Formula 1 car, was great fun,” Tsunoda said.

“It was a whole different world to the F2 car I am racing this year, especially in terms of the increased power and also the braking performance.

“I didn’t worry about my lap times, I just focused on getting used to the F1 car and completing the 300 kilometres.

“I did a lot of physical training to prepare for this, but even so, I was a little bit tired at the end of the day, but very happy with the experience,” added the two-time Formula 2 race winner.

“There is so much more a driver has to do in an F1 car, but I had practiced dealing with all the extra switches on the steering wheel in the simulator.

“Overall, the day was great fun and part of that came from having this session at the high speed Imola track, which made it even more interesting.

“Ahead of me are two more F2 rounds, four more races and I will just concentrate on each session over the two weekends and then we can see what the result is at the end of it all.”

The 20-year-old has been linked with a move in F1 next season in place of Daniil Kvyat.

AlphaTauri last week confirmed Pierre Gasly would remain with the team, though the identity of whom he will drive alongside has not yet been revealed.

Tsunoda, Kvyat, and Alex Albon have all been linked with the drive, though the former will need to gain a Superlicence before he could appear on an F1 grid.

Completing 300 kilometres of F1 testing aids towards that process, as does finishing in the top four of the Formula 2 championship.

“We had a very productive first test here in Imola with Yuki Tsunoda and we were able to complete 352km,” said AlphaTauri Team Principal, Franz Tost.

“It was a bit damp in the morning, so we started the day on full wet tyres.

“Even so, Yuki got immediately familiar with the car, which means that when we changed to the dry tyres he improved his lap times straight away and it was quite impressive.

“After the lunch break we continued on with new sets of tyres and he improved further, showing that he was feeling more comfortable in the car, lap by lap.

“Yuki gave valuable technical feedback regarding the behaviour of the car, which was in line with what we expected.

“In his last run, he did a race simulation and he was very consistent, which is clear evidence he had everything under control.

“We are looking forward to his next test in Abu Dhabi, when he will be doing the young driver test for Scuderia AlphaTauri.”

The F1 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is scheduled for December 11-13.

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