Tsunoda reflects on his 2023 F1 season and singles out his best performances

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AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda discusses his development as a Formula 1 driver following his third season with the Italian based outfit as well as reflecting on his 2023 performances.

Yuki Tsunoda at the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix
Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Yuki Tsunoda has seen rapid improvements since entering Formula 1 with AlphaTauri in 2021. The young Japanese driver was forced to step up into a more leadership oriented role for the 2023 season with the departure of teammate Pierre Gasly, culminating in Tsunoda out-scoring three teammates over the course of the season.

“From last year things started to get better.”

Reflecting on his Formula 1 journey so far, Tsunoda highlighted the progress he has made as a driver, both on and off the track. 

“I’m feeling [more] comfortable each year.” Tsunoda replied when asked if he is at a level he is happy with. “More towards this year it’s getting more and more. I think my first year, there were multiple reasons, but I wasn’t able to really show performance in the first half of the season especially.

“I think from last year things started to get better. My confidence is getting better and better and now I’m just really focussing more on [being] a complete driver. Not just being fast but also giving feedback to development or how mature you can be in a difficult situation.

“So those are my targets. I think every race, every year I want to find my weakness and be working on it.”

“There were a couple of really really good races…”

Focussing on his 2023 season, Tsunoda highlighted his strong and consistent start to the season. Showing his positive outlook, he also noted the strong pace he was able to maintain in Monaco early in the year, before being compromised by a brake issue.

“I’m pretty happy with my performance.” He said. “The first half especially was pretty consistent. There were no reliability issues or anything. There were a few things which made us have a bad step in terms of points. 

“In Monaco I was comfortably driving P9 and the brake issue happened. We just didn’t have pace after that. There were a couple of really really good races even considering the performance we had from the car.”

“I think I still had a couple of big mistakes…”

Honing in on the latter half of the season, he highlighted his own consistency while also admitting he still sees room for improvement ahead of next season.

“The second half was better and better. At the same time the reliability issues started to get quite a lot, Las Vegas and everything. Some back luck this season, probably more towards the second half. 

“At the same time, at least for myself and my performance, I want to drive consistently each race, consistently good. So this is a positive and obviously there is [still] more room to improve, to be even more consistent. I think I still had a couple of big mistakes in the second half.”

“The car didn’t have the pace to be top 10…”

Lastly, Tsunoda took time to reflect on his season and choose his best races of the year, basing his choices on his performances in relation to the pace of the car. Two of the three races he highlighted he had failed to score points, but drove well regardless.

“I think Texas was good.” He recalled. “There was a bit of damage to my car as well. I was able to finish P10. First half [of the season] for example, Saudi. The think the car didn’t have the pace to be top 10 and I was driving P10. unfortunately I lost the P10 in probably the last 2 laps. That was pretty tough.

“Also Barcelona was a good race as well. Maybe those three I would say if I remember clearly. Those races.”