Tsunoda banking on F2 experience to adapt to 18-inch wheels

© XPB 

AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda says his Formula 2 experience with 18-inch wheels will help him adapt to F1's new low-profile tyres.

The sport's switch to bigger wheels this season as part of Grand Prix racing's wholesale regulation changes is one of Formula 1's biggest historical changes.

The change, coupled with the introduction of ground effect aerodynamics, has forced designers to rethink not just suspensions but almost every area of the new cars.

As a consequence, drivers will need to adapt to Pirelli's new lower-profile tyres which bring the sport more in line with a modern performance image compared to its previous 13-inch wheels.

Based on his recent simulator work and last December's post-season test in Abu Dhabi, Tsunoda feels that his F2 experience will prove beneficial in coming to grips with F1's new tyres.


"The car generally feels a lot sharper, with sharper movement and over a long run, the bigger wheels give you a completely different feeling to that on the old 13-inch tyres," he explained.

"I've experienced this feeling before, because when I raced in Formula 2 we made the same switch to 18 inches and I felt the same difference there. It felt like a similar step.

"So I think I can use the experience I had in F2. But it's not just the tyres that change this year, the new car means there are lots of changes for 2022 to learn about and adapt to."

Tsunoda's maiden campaign in F1 with AlphaTauri was marked by several crashes and an inconsistent level of performances, although he improved in the latter part of the season.

This year, the 21-year-old aims to continue his progress while becoming more consistent, all too aware that the pressure is on as another troubled season could spell the end of his ambitions in F1.


"I'm really looking forward to racing again," he said. "I feel I have a much better understanding of what I have to do than I did a year ago.

"I know how to prepare in order to perform well. I know what my weak points are, I have all of my experience from last year to build on and I have been working hard to be ready.

"Last year, if anything unexpected or unusual happened, I could not adapt quick enough to deal with the situation, which is why I struggled in a lot of races.

"I ended last year well, with a fourth place in Abu Dhabi, so I want to carry that momentum into this new season.

"I feel more pressure to perform now than I did last year, but it's a good pressure, which is motivation for me when I'm training."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter