Tsunoda reveals being pleasantly surprised by AlphaTauri’s decision to retain him

Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda revealed he was “20 per cent surprised” when AlphaTauri retained him, saying he wasn’t entirely confident in his 2021 season.

Tsunoda debuted in F1 at the beginning of 2021. The opening race in Bahrain saw him put in an absolute shift and impress everyone watching. The hopes for him were sky-high, and he was primed to have a great rookie season.

Both his pace and character were steps behind his teammate’s, with the lowest of lows coming when Red Bull called his attitude out and transferred him to Italy.

As a result, Tsunoda revealed he was “20 per cent surprised” when AlphaTauri retained him, saying he didn’t think his team were entirely convinced by him.

“I was talking and I said I had a little bit of a surprise, but to be honest I did have (surprise) but not so much,” he told GPFans.

“Okay, I was actually struggling but also at the same time I showed, a couple of times, good performances and good improvements, which normally it’s not enough. But for sure, I had a little bit of confidence that I can be part of the driver (lineup) in 2022. So I was 20 per cent, maybe, surprised, but most of the things I was feeling…

Yuki Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri garage. Yas Marina December 2021.
Tsunoda (pictured) will race for AlphaTauri in 2022. Source: planetf1.com

“Of course, I felt like, ‘oh okay, now I (can) afford this, more (time) to learn’ and I felt more relaxed, but there’s not much more I can add.”

Onto the next one

“(2022) will be a really important year for me,” he continued.

“I don’t know how the pace will be for the car in the team, but you need to perform well and of course you need to beat the team-mate and you need a more consistent race. But now I know the details of what I have to improve and if I improve this one, I can beat him, beat my teammate, or have a consistent race.

“These are all of the things, all of the ingredients I saw to go forward. In terms of that, it was a really good preparation year I would say.”

Read more: Horner takes sharp U-turn over Tsunoda outburst, pins blame on team’s support staff

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