Tsunoda's 2021 F1 setbacks put him on "long road" to recover confidence

Yuki Tsunoda says a number of early setbacks in the 2021 Formula 1 season put him on "a long journey to improve my confidence" during his rookie season with AlphaTauri.

Tsunoda's 2021 F1 setbacks put him on "long road" to recover confidence

Following a number of incidents in his first F1 season, particularly in qualifying, Tsunoda initially struggled to live up to his impressive debut at Bahrain in which he scored ninth place.

F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn even labelled Tsunoda as F1's "best rookie for years" following his immediate breakthrough result, before a string of difficult races left the Japanese driver devoid of confidence.

Finishing fourth, Tsunoda felt that Abu Dhabi was his most complete weekend of the season, after he had steadily rebuilt his confidence in recent months.

"I think it was a long journey to improve my confidence, from especially Imola. I really struggled, and it was a long journey, but I'm feeling pretty good and pretty prepared for the next year to have this confidence."

"[2022 is] going to be a tough season as well, starting quite early next year. So there's not much time to rest.

"But I think I still have to improve myself, especially physically. So [I will] just keep pushing, and try to have a good start for next year.

"It depends on the car, but for me, for my side in terms of confidence maybe still, I have to find a little bit of confidence, but just have to build it up the same progress as I did in these last five races. And I think I have to improve especially [on the] fitness side."

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Tsunoda added that he felt his good start to the season finale at Abu Dhabi was the "key" to securing his best result in F1, in which he outqualified teammate Pierre Gasly after making his way to Q3.

"The start was really good," Tsunoda explained. "Obviously, I've had bad starts, consistently, I lost positions on the first lap in the last three or four races. And this was my key point today.

"And even I improved this one, and I gained even one position on the first lap. And that was, I think, the key point for today's race. that I got P4.

"After that the pace was quite good, and in the end, I managed to pass [Valtteri] Bottas on soft tyres - so that was good."

During the race, Tsunoda also battled against Alpine's Fernando Alonso, who ran to a slightly different strategy after going long into the race on his medium tyres.

Tsunoda felt that Alonso made a pass on him off track, but was grateful to have been in the same ballpark as the two-time F1 champion.

"I think, to be honest, he completely passed off track. So he should give me back the position immediately.

"But he didn't, so I just had to overtake. But anyway, it was fun to battle with that kind of legend."

shares
comments

Related video

O’Ward revels in "addictive" first Formula 1 test with McLaren
Previous article

O’Ward revels in "addictive" first Formula 1 test with McLaren

Next article

McLaren: Norris "unlucky" to lose fifth in championship to puncture

McLaren: Norris "unlucky" to lose fifth in championship to puncture
Load comments
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022