AlphaTauri rookie Yuki Tsunoda is targeting greater control of his temper over the team radio during race weekends as a top priority.
Tsunoda made a big impression of pre-season testing and was in strong form for his official Formula 1 race weekend debut at Bahrain. But it's been a bumpy road since then, with the Japanese driver admitting that his early success had left him aiming too high.
"The development has certainly not been positive," Red Bull motorsports consultant Helmut Marko told Motorsport-Total.com. "His self-confidence took a hit after the multiple incidents."
As a result, Marko said that he was planning to move the driver from the UK where he currently lives to Italy so that he can be more closely mentored.
"We have decided to move Yuki to Italy, where he will be under the personal supervision of [AlphaTauri team principal] Franz Tost," he said.
"It's not only so we can control him better, but also to instil in him a stronger sense of security. His potential is still there."
That move should go down well with Tsunoda, who previously said of Tost that "He's really calm and he always, I think, supports drivers," adding: "He doesn't force me to do like this or like that, he just tries to tell me the advice."
In particular, even Tsunoda admits that his outbursts over the team radio have become an issue over the opening rounds of 2021.
He produced a expletive-filled rant about Imola’s “traffic paradise” and even had to be told to "calm down" by his race engineer in Spain. Tsunoda admits that remaining calm is his “weakest point”.
"Controlling myself is now the main topic for me now," he told the latest Beyond The Grid podcast this week. "Especially in Barcelona I was fully out of control.
“I don’t know why, but I just pressed the radio. I didn’t have to, but I just pressed the radio," he said. “I don’t know why but I had to shout at them.
"This is definitely now my weak point and I have to now really improve on this radio communications," he continued. “I don’t know why I get too heated up."
Tsunoda said that Tost had already had a productive talk with him about the Barcelona outburst.
"He said [something] like, 'You don't have to worry about radio, this radio is almost nothing, just focus on driving and talk to engineer about what was the issue', and 'You have to make the car do what you want', you know?
"For me he's kind, and he's also sometimes strict, but it's in a good way," he added. "Even after Imola he just laughed at me.
"Not like in a bad way, you know, but like 'Shit happens' or 'I think you push too much'. He didn't say 'What did you do?' and 'What is it, these mistakes?'"
Tsunoda is keenly aware that productive dialogue between team and driver during a race weekend is a crucial element of modern motorsport. "Radio communication is the most important thing for Formula 1 especially," he said
"If you want advice from them, say 'What’s the issue now and what’s the limitation of the car now?’ really calm, and they are going to support us.
“If you just shout, they can’t do anything," he added. "There’s no point in shouting on the radio."
However Tsunoda admitted that he was still didn't like to receive radio messages from the AlphaTauri pit wall when he was in the middle of a flying lap.
"I really like to do the lap by myself naturally, even like I don’t want to have something disturb in my push lap, especially if I’m having quite a good lap. I think most of the drivers have the same thing."