Franz Tost puts pressure on Yuki Tsunoda: ‘He has to score many more points’

Henry Valantine
AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda. January 2023.

IMOLA, ITALY - JANUARY 24: Scuderia Alpha Tauri F1 2023 Official Kit Shoot on January 24, 2023 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Guido De Bortoli/Getty Images for Scuderia Alpha Tauri)

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has spoken publicly about his target for Yuki Tsunoda for 2023, which is to see him in Q3 and in the points on a regular basis.

The young Japanese driver is heading into his third season in Formula 1, having admitted himself he was surprised to have been given a second year after a troubled rookie season which saw him roundly beaten by team-mate Pierre Gasly.

Tsunoda managed to close the gap between the two overall last year however, though the AT03 proved to be uncompetitive for both drivers in 2022, and he was awarded another contract to remain with Red Bull’s sister team for this season.

AlphaTauri boss Tost has spoken before about how a driver really needs three years to show if they are capable of fighting at the front in Formula 1, and 2023 will represent that key milestone for Tsunoda.

At the launch of the AT04 in New York City on Saturday, the team principal laid out what he expects to see from the 22-year-old this time around.

“Last year, Yuki struggled with the car,” Tost said. “This year, as I expect we will have quite a competitive car, Yuki must always aim to be in Qualifying 3 and finish the races in the points.

“He is a very highly skilled driver and now has a lot of experience with two seasons in Formula 1. For this reason, of course, he has to score many more points than he did last year.” recommends

Christian Horner is hearing ‘big numbers’ from a potential surprise F1 2023 rival
Check out all the angles of the new AlphaTauri AT04 livery
Ranking the 2023 grid’s rookie seasons: How did the current F1 drivers fare on debut?

Tsunoda began working with performance coach Michael Italiano over the winter, formerly Daniel Ricciardo’s trainer, as he went on a boot camp in Dubai to get himself physically prepared for the season ahead.

The Japanese driver feels he has made significant improvements in his time as a Formula 1 driver so far, having moved to Italy to be closer to the team’s Faenza base after not settling in well in England initially, and he is feeling better than ever ahead of the new year.

“I’m at a completely different level now, although I have still kept the good aspects of my first year,” Tsunoda said.

“But now, I am definitely more in control, more involved with the team when it comes to the development of the car and I also act differently, having learned lots of things, not just when it comes to racing but also in my life away from the track.

“Even that has a ­positive eff­ect in how I race. I had underestimated what was involved, but now I’ve figured out the things that are really important.”