Tost: Never any doubts about Tsunoda contract extension

ยฉAlphaTauri

AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost says he never had any doubts about awarding a second year in F1 to Yuki Tsunoda, aware that the rookie would require time to develop.

Ahead of his F1 debut, the Japanese charger was heralded as a brilliant talent by Red Bull's top brass.

Although Tsunoda enjoyed a strong start to his campaign with AlphaTauri thanks to a points finish in Bahrain, overall his maiden season has so far been marked by inconsistent performances and a string of crashes.

And when Tsunoda was confirmed for 2022, the 23-year-old admitted to being surprised by Red Bull's decision not to send him home packing.

"To be honest, my first half of the season was quite inconsistent. From my side I was a bit surprised I'll be staying next year," he said earlier this month.

But Tost insists he had no second thoughts about keeping the young gun alongside Pierre Gasly for next season.

"For me personally no, because nowadays if you bring a rookie into Formula 1, you must give him time," said the AlphaTauri boss, quoted by Motorsport.com.

"Formula 1 is really so complex, is so difficult. Yuki so far has done a reasonably good job. He was fast, he finished in Budapest in the sixth position, and his first race he was ninth in Bahrain.

"Of course, he had some crashes, but I always say the crash period is part of the education process. How will someone find the limit if he is not allowed to crash?"

The Faenza squad hopes its young charger will keep himself out of trouble until the end of the season. However, with several upcoming venues unknown to Tsunoda, Tost is expecting a complicated back end to the season for his young charger.

"We are looking forward for the second half of the season," he commented. "Although it will not be an easy one because all these young drivers don't know neither America nor Mexico, nor Sao Paolo, nor Turkey, Saudi Arabia no one knows.

"That means there's a lot of work in front of us to bring him on a good level. But on the side of Pierre Gasly, who is for me one of the fastest drivers in Formula 1 nowadays, he can learn a lot.

"I think that he will close this gap and I'm looking forward for this driver line-up next year when we have a new car, that at least there we have constant and that's important for us."

There's little doubt that Tsunoda's confidence was shaken in the wake of the crashes he has endured this season. But Tost believes that his early confirmation by AlphaTauri will have gone a long way towards rebuilding his own trust.

"Of course, this helps, because he knows he is with the team," he added. "And as I mentioned already before, the second half of the season will not become so easy as he is on race tracks which he doesn't know.

"But nevertheless, he is improving his performance, he's doing a good job and therefore, parallel to this, he will also improve his self-confidence.

"And of course, if you crash with a Formula 1 car at higher speed it's not an easy one, just to take it away. But I think that Yuki has the nature to get back his self-confidence and as more laps as he's doing as better it will be.

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