Confidence key for Tsunoda
By Mat Coch
Sunday 23rd January, 2022 - 1:29pm
An increase in confidence over the course of the 2021 Formula 1 season was the biggest takeaway from Yuki Tsunoda’s rookie campaign.
The Japanese driver burst onto the F1 scene amid high expectations only to struggle in the opening sequence of races.
That saw AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost insist Tsunoda move to Faenza in Italy to be close to the factory, placing him on a strict training and preparation schedule.
It netted results, with more consistent performances in the back half of the season culminating with a career-best fourth-place finish in Abu Dhabi.
“I will say in terms of driving I wasn’t confident,” he admitted when asked what the biggest lessons of his maiden F1 season were.
“Also how confidence also how related to the like race week, how you approach and how you progress. I learned a lot of things, especially those parts.
“Maybe social media things,” he added.
“I think that, of course, there are a lot of things I learned, but those two were my biggest topic I learned.”
The diminutive 21-year-old ended the year with 32 points, less than a third of the tally achieved by team-mate Pierre Gasly.
However, the Frenchman was a standout performer, sparking suggestions he could be called back to the Red Bull senior team alongside Max Verstappen for 2022.
“I just feel like I’ve grown a bit more, I’m more consistent, faster,” Gasly noted of his performances.
“So no, I think it’s been my best year, and with experience, just getting better in the sport, I believe  is going to be another step forward.
“There’s always room for improvement everywhere, but [2021 was] pretty incredible.”
Ultimately, he was overlooked in favour of Sergio Perez, with AlphaTauri maintaining an unchanged line-up for the coming season.