Tsunoda feels new VCARB 01 is 'really big step’ after shakedown


Yuki Tsunoda wasted no time getting acquainted with his 2024 ride, the VCARB 01, during a recent shakedown at the Misano circuit in Italy, and he hailed his team’s new design as “a really big step”.

The Faenza-based outfit unveiled its 2024 challenger and its ambition to match at a glitzy Las Vegas launch where the former AlphaTauri team shed its skin and emerged as Visa Cash App RB.

Last Thursday, Tsunoda and teammate Daniel Ricciardo were on site at Misano to sample their new mount during a filming day organized at the Italian track.

Shakedowns often generate positive feedback to their limited nature. But Tsunoda appeared genuinely enthusiastic about his prospect after logging his first miles onboard VCARB’s new machine.

Still, confirming an initial impression into actual performance gains against the competition requires waiting for official testing and, eventually, the racing itself.

"It's feeling great on the track, the first run with the VCARB 01 went all smooth," said the 23-year-old who heads into his fourth F1 season.

"I already felt a couple of steps of improvement compared to last year and a really big step I felt compared to the same time last year. I really enjoyed also the new car with the new livery, new team, so it was a positive day.

"I would say overall, it's an easier handling car and just didn't feel any outstanding issue or strong characteristics and movements. So far, I'm feeling positive."

On the other side of the VCARB garage, Daniel Ricciardo offered perhaps a more measure response.

"From a feeling it was just nice to get a few laps again after a Christmas break,” said the Aussie. “It's hard to know yet where we will be but I felt really good getting behind the wheel again.

"Being back with Red Bull was already something that made me feel whole again, being back with that family. And now this year it's another phase of this team's 'career'.

"It's a time where we're no longer seen as just a Red Bull kind of junior team. It's a team that's standing on its own two feet."


In its previous AlphaTauri guise, the sister Red Bull squad displayed strong momentum at the end of last season, thanks in large part to a late but significant upgrade package.

Technical director Jody Egginton is hopeful VCARB can pick up in Bahrain next week where it left off in Abu Dhabi last November.

"The overall goal is we want to be competitive, we want to be fighting hard in the midfield and really able to extract all the performance that the car has available and then we develop it from that point," he said.

"So, I think if we can tick all of those boxes and get the best out of the car, we'll be happy.

"We had a strong finish to the year last year. Our expectation is that we're in that fight in the midfield and we can get into that fight a little bit earlier, be a bit more consistent and be a feature in all of the races, really, battling hard in the fight for points and trying to extract the most from the car and from ourselves."

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