Yuki Tsunoda admitted he was happy with what he achieved in Baku after moving to Italy to spend more time with the team.
Tsunoda had a positive debut in Bahrain with AlphaTauri, scoring points right away and showing his talent to the team. However, after the first race, it was not easy for him to deliver some good performances.
Then, after moving to Italy to spend more time with the team and improve his confidence with the team, Tsunoda managed to enter Q3 for the first time in Azerbaijan. At the same GP, the Japanese driver finished the race in P7 and said that a mindset switch helped him to improve his performance.
“Before Baku, I had a couple of difficult race weekends, so the result there was a good feeling,” said Tsunoda. “Compared to previous races, my preparation was much better than normal, and right from FP1, I felt ready.
“The week before Baku I moved to Italy, spending most of the time in the factory, studying our approach to race week and looking at previous issues with the car. We decided to take a little bit of a different approach to the race week and have more conversations and that worked well.
“In qualifying, I made Q3 for the first time, and overall, I think we have established a new baseline for how to approach a race. The overall result was okay, I’m quite happy, even if it was a shame I lost a place [to Alpine’s Fernando Alonso] after the restart.”
Moreover, Tsunoda also admitted that moving to Faenza, where AlphaTauri is based, was the right decision.
“The weather and the food are good, and I can spend more time in the factory talking to the engineers. To move to Italy was the right decision and something positive for me, although it does mean I have to travel back to the UK for simulator sessions.”
Finally, Tsunoda concluded by saying that he cannot wait to race at Paul Ricard since the wide run-off areas will allow him to push his car at its limits.
“I have raced in Paul Ricard twice before in Formula 3, which means it’s a different situation after Portugal, Monaco, and Baku which were all completely new to me,” said Tsunoda. “That will be a positive factor [although] Ricard will be different in a Formula 1 car.
“It’s quite a flat track and, unlike the last two races, there are no walls,” Tsunoda added. “There are very big run-off areas, so I don’t have to be as cautious in my approach as I find the limit. Set-up wise it will also be very different from Azerbaijan where our car worked well, as there are no low-speed, right-angle corners. It’s a completely different track in every way. I’m looking forward to it and hope I can finish in the points again.”