RB F1 “found a couple” of things on my car after difficult Chinese GP weekend — Tsunoda

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
Spread the love

Yuki Tsunoda is the top midfield driver in the standings this season with 7 points to his name to date, scoring back-to-back points finished in Australia and Japan.

However, the Chinese Grand Prix was a disaster for the Japanese driver as he had his first retirement of the season after a collision with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen.

He talked about how every tenth matters in the midfield this season as they are extremely close to each other.

The team and driver also remain unsure of the reason as to why the Japanese driver struggled so much on his first visit to Shanghai. Tsunoda was knocked out in SQ1 and Q1, and he never looked like scoring points in the Grand Prix before Magnussen took him out.

“We spent a lot of time to understand. And to be honest, we didn’t understand fully why we weren’t able to perform well as much as previous races.

“But still, we found a couple [of things] and those kind of tenths will affect quite a lot, especially with the current tight midfield, like still these tenths will affect a couple of positions.

“So I think that doesn’t explain enough really my perspective to the difference I saw in China.

“But yeah, kind of I would say race week that we have, we would like to forget and kind of reset it to Miami.

“So yeah, I’ll see how it goes and I’m sure we can do a better job for sure than China.”

Nonetheless, the 23-year-old took some responsibility for the difficulties after getting asked where he was losing those couple of tenths he previously mentioned.

“I would say from the car [on why he was lacking a couple of tenths].

“But obviously, it’s not just about the car. We could have done better as a team to understand earlier than that.

“And also for myself as well, don’t get me wrong, it’s not just about the car.

“For sure a lot of things I could have done better. So, especially for Sprint qualifying, precision and perfection is very important.

“It’s kind of tight, very busy schedule. So I think those things will be improved in the future.”

The Japanese driver also talked about RB’s new chassis that his teammate Daniel Ricciardo used at the Chinese Grand Prix.

He expressed his concern at the sudden lack of pace compared to the other events this season but reaffirmed it has nothing to do with the chassis.

“Yeah, I would say China is a completely different story. I would say it’s not about the chassis or Daniel’s change of chassis, to be honest.

“I was way off compared to previous races because I was fighting P8, P9 and suddenly dropped to P19 and still two tenths off from P18.

“So it’s more like for some reason, I just didn’t have no pace at all. And yeah, we tried to find a reason between the races and we found a couple.”

The Japanese driver is focusing on himself to make sure the same problems as the Chinese Grand Prix is not repeated again and doesn’t fall into a spiral after a superb start to the campaign before China.

“The thing I’m concerned more to myself about is it being a bad snowball effect.

“The kind of bad rhythm that something happens and I’m not in a good rhythm. I don’t want to make the same reason or I don’t want to complain about the same things. I just want to be in a normal rhythm.

“Once I’ve had a bad session or whatever, I want to focus on myself rather than the car.

“I think those car things, the engineer will look into anyway. I just have to mentally go back to being in a normal shape. And the things I have to really focus on is myself.”

On the brighter side of the Chinese Grand Prix, Tsunoda talked about the data they managed to collect and the good work done on the operational side, as well making a big gain following set-up changes between the Sprint and Grand Prix qualifying as Parc Fermé opened up.

He also explained how the new Sprint weekends requires the team to be reliant on his feedback.

“I think what I’ve done, even though I was struggling quite a lot in the Chinese Grand Prix, what I’ve done from Friday to Sunday is set-up changes. I was pretty happy with it.

“We went pretty aggressive, and I think all set-up changes went in the right direction. At least we collected a lot of data.

“I think on the positive side from China, at least on the operational side we did well. So just keep on doing that.

“And also I think Sprint qualifying format like this, preparation is very decisive. Simulator, everything.

“So those things really depend on my feedback, also for my engineers and the preparation

“So far, when I look at the first five races, FP1, we’ve been able to perform straight away. So I don’t have much complaints.”