From outbursts to outstanding: Tsunoda’s road to redemption

Yuki Tsunoda is gearing up to prove he has the “mature” disposition required for a premier position in Formula 1, he revealed. At only 23 years old, Tsunoda, a talent nurtured within Red Bull’s secondary Formula 1 team, faces uncertainty regarding his future as Honda, the team’s sponsor, plans a move to Aston Martin by 2026.

Critiques of Tsunoda often focus on his emotional responses during races, noting his propensity to vent over the team radio. Despite a noticeable outburst at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Tsunoda believes he has made significant progress this season. He shared with the Japanese press, “I don’t shout so much over the radio anymore.” Reflecting on the incident in Bahrain, Tsunoda remarked, “I didn’t think shouting caused me to lose concentration, but in Bahrain I felt that I overdid it a little bit, so I started to consciously try to improve my concentration in a more professional manner. I started to think that I need to show that I’m growing as a driver.” With ambitions of reaching the pinnacle of F1, he emphasized, “I want to grow even more and become a top driver and aim for the championship, so I keep that in mind when I press the button on the radio. It has become like that.”

Dr. Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s chief F1 consultant, has recognized Tsunoda’s improvement, especially as he begins to consistently outperform his teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Marko noted, “His problems were a lack of control, outbursts and a tendency to make mistakes. All of that has gone this season.” However, Marko cautioned that Tsunoda must continue to advance to be considered for a position with Red Bull Racing.

Speaking to Japanese media, Tsunoda elaborated on his emotional growth, stating, “In the past two races, I felt that I was able to suppress my emotions naturally without having to press the radio button, and I was happy about that. By suppressing my emotions, I cooled down faster. I was also able to maintain my concentration.”

Concerns loom for Tsunoda, particularly regarding the upcoming weather conditions at the Japanese Grand Prix. “I think the forecast says the weather won’t be very good, so I’m worried about that,” he admitted with a cautious optimism.

Marko, in conversation with Austria’s Laola1, expressed surprise at Ricciardo’s performance difficulties, saying, “We are all puzzling over that. He is generally slower than Yuki. Something never goes right with him, which is surprising, because things looked very good for him in the winter test.” This raises questions about whether Tsunoda’s improvement is genuine or if Ricciardo is merely underperforming.

When pondering Tsunoda’s potential for Red Bull Racing, Marko suggested, “You would have to compare him with another driver first. Because the question is, has Yuki become a high flyer or is Daniel weak?” This comparison could determine Tsunoda’s readiness for a top seat in F1.

GMM

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