Tost sets clear targets for Tsunoda's third season


AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost says he expects Yuki Tsunoda to come of age in 2023 and deliver a much improved performance for the team.

Tsunoda made his F1 debut for the squad in 2021 but had an inconsistent rookie season. Although he made improvements in his second year, he still only won 12 points all season and finished in 17th place in the final standings.

Having previously said that it takes three years for a driver to reach his optimal performance level in Formula 1, Tost said that this year was do-or-die for the Japanese driver who had to prove he was worth the team's support.

"He is a very highly-skilled driver and now has a lot of experience with two seasons in F1," Tost said on Saturday at the launch of the team's new 2023 car. "For this reason of course he has to score many more points.

"Last year Yuki struggled with the car," he acknowledged. "This year, as I expect we will have quite a competitive car, Yuki must always aim to be in Qualifying 3 and finish the races in the points."

Tsunoda himself insisted he was making major progress in his ability and approach to F1. "I’m at a completely different level now," he said in a press release issued by the team this weekend.

"I have still kept the good aspects of my first year, but now I am definitely more in control, more involved with the team when it comes to the development of the car.

"I also act differently, having learned lots of things, not just when it comes to racing but also in my life away from the track. Even that has a positive effect in how I race.

"I had underestimated what was involved," he admitted. "But now I’ve figured out the things that are really important.

"My main goal [for 2023] is to perform more consistently in every race, independently from the car’s performance, and to score points more consistently.

"I want to be more in control of myself at all times, work well with the team, understand the car as quickly as possible, right from the first race in Bahrain.

"I want this year to be my best performance of the three years in terms of getting to Q3 and scoring points.

"I feel pretty excited about all the races, really. Of course the first one in Bahrain is something to look forward to. Looking at the calendar, then obviously Japan is special for me and I am keen to race in front of my home fans again.

"I think Las Vegas, as a new race, will be cool," he added. "But honestly, Japan is the one standout race for me if I had to pick one out of all the races this year."

Tsunoda insisted that he was also confident he would be able to deal with the greater number of sprint race weekends in 2023.

"I am definitely less concerned this year about the sprint weekends and the lack of practice before Qualifying. I am confident I can perform well straightaway from Free Practice 1 and get into a rhythm.

"I know how to deal with this format. I will feel less rushed and therefore I can be more in control and perform better than last year."


This season, Tsunoda will effectively be the team's lead driver after Pierre Gasly departed for a new role at Aston Martin, with former Formula E champion Nyck de Vries arriving at Faenza for his rookie F1 campaign.

Tsunoda wasn't phased by the added responsibility and said that he's already forged a good working relationship with the newcomer.

"Nyck was also training in Dubai so we got the opportunity to spend a little bit of time together," he said. "We knew each other before then from past years.

"We already have a good relationship, and we will build more on that now as teammates this season.

"I think together we make a strong pairing, with the aim of helping the team progress this year. I also believe I can learn things from Nyck."

The team will be in action at Bahrain International Circuit for three days of pre-season testing from February 23-25, with the first race of the season taking place at the same venue on March 5.

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