Tsunoda looks back over 'hard year' for AlphaTauri

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri AT03. 22.11.2022. Formula 1 Testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Tuesday
© XPB 

Yuki Tsunoda admitted that 2022 hadn't been the best of seasons for the AlphaTauri team, but insisted that things were coming right and that they would be back stronger next year.

The change to F1's rules and regulations that took effect at the start of the season seemed to put the team on the backfoot, having previously been in the top ten as well as winning the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.

But this year they have come away pointless from 12 of the 22 races on the calendar, leaving them down in ninth place in the constructors standings, down from sixth in 2021.

Tsunoda himself finished in 17th place in the drivers championship with just 12 points for the year with his team mate Pierre Gasly in P14, and admitted this second season in had been very tough.

“It’s been a hard year as a team," the Japanese driver said. "We couldn’t achieve even P8 in the championship. On a positive side, I learned lots of things from it."

In his last race of 2022, Tsunoda once again narrowly missed out on gaining any points after finishing in 11th place.

“The last six or seven laps, the tyre was good," he recalled of how the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale played out. " then suddenly the tyre dropped and I couldn’t keep up the pace from the fronts.


"I felt there was a good chance to score points, but I couldn’t keep up the pace. It’s a shame, but at the same time I did my best."

Tsunoda knows he needs to pick up the pace in 2023, which will see him as the de facto senior driver with Gasly departing for Alpine F1, and his place taken by F1 rookie Nyck de Vries.

"It was a pleasure to work with [Pierre] and I appreciate the things he achieved [with] the team, and also [gave] to me," Tsunoda acknowledged.

As for his hopes for next season, Tsunoda said: “Hopefully the car is good. Of course for my side I need a lot of improvement still.

"At least I have a clear target to progress for the next year, so that’s good," he added. "I will just try to achieve that and definitely we’ll be back strong in the next year."

It will be a make-or-break season for Tsunoda. Although de Vries is no new kid on the block - he's a former Formula E world champion with Mercedes - Tsunoda will be expected to compare favourably if he's to retain his seat beyond 2023.

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