Yuki Tsunoda made his Formula 1 debut with AlphaTauri on pre-season testing. The Japanese driver hails Honda for “big improvements” on the power unit.

2021 will be Honda’s final year in the top class of motorsports. They developed their engine and will hand it over to Red Bull (who already built their Power Unit department at their headquarters) by the end of the season.

After his first day of pre-season testing with AlphaTauri, Tsunoda said the PU and the engine had “big improvements.”

“The PU, the engine, had a big improvement,” said Tsunoda. “Quite a good improvement compared to the AT01, so I think we had a good start.

“I also think the steering, we have a good step, and I have more confidence to drive into the corners. For me, it’s a really good, positive thing.”

The Japanese also commented on his first session overall: “It was really exciting,” he said.

“I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end, especially the tricky conditions at the beginning of the session. Really sandy, and less grip. But for a debut in Formula 1, it was really good for controlling the car a lot to feel the limit of the downforce, so I enjoyed that.

“At the end, I had a bit of an issue, a bit of a fuel thing I think it was.

“I just drove 37 laps and my lap time was the lap time I did first with the hard tire. So not the top potential, but it was a good test, and with the issue, it’s always good to have it in testing, not in the real race. So a good start.”

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