Tost: Rookies ‘underestimate’ physical requirements of F1

Henry Valantine
AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost speaks. Barcelona February 2022.

Franz Tost is interviewed in the media pen during pre-season running. Barcelona February 2022.

AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost admitted some young drivers struggle with driving a Formula 1 car to start with, after Yuki Tsunoda said he has been working on his fitness ahead of the new season.

The Japanese driver admitted previously that he was “20% surprised” to keep his seat after a tricky first year in the sport, in which he was soundly beaten by Pierre Gasly within AlphaTauri, although his results did pick up towards the end of the season.

Tsunoda spoke after 2021 concluded and said he would prioritise becoming fitter and stronger over the course of the off-season, as he looks to show his competitiveness this time around.

But Tost, who has earned a reputation as being an excellent mentor for young drivers entering the sport, says the problem of adapting quickly and responding to “unexpected or unusual” occurrences in their debut season is far from uncommon, not least driving the cars themselves.

“It’s not only Yuki who underestimates how physical it is to drive a Formula 1 car,” Tost told reporters in Barcelona.

Yuki Tsunoda driving the AlphaTauri AT03. Spain, February 2022.
Yuki Tsunoda driving the AlphaTauri AT03 on day one of testing. Spain, February 2022.

“It’s really for all the young drivers when they [drive for] the first time in a Formula 1 car, because this is another dimension.

“I always tell them when they come to Formula 1 ‘now your real hard work will start. Everything you did before was kindergarten, now you have to start working, be disciplined’.”

Tost praised how Tsunoda grew into the season, rounding off the year with a career-best P4 finish in Abu Dhabi, narrowly behind podium finisher Carlos Sainz in the melee that ensued in the final lap with the two World Championship challengers at the front.

The AlphaTauri boss expanded on Tsunoda’s struggles to adapt by highlighting the lack of testing mileage available to drivers before a season starts, with only three days of running split between both drivers having become the norm in recent seasons – although this has been upped to six in 2022, given the radically different machinery this season.

Tost praised the work his driver has done in preparing himself for the year ahead, and thinks it has been harder for rookies in recent seasons to get up to speed in the sport than in previous years.

“Yuki improved a lot during the last season,” Tost said. “It’s not only Yuki who has problems at the beginning when he is new in Formula 1, from the physical side.

“All the forces which are coming from braking, from the corners, are very, very high. I don’t know any driver who came to Formula 1 without having any physical problems. It’s a special training.

 

“It was easier, let me say, 10, 15 years ago – there were much more tests beforehand. Nowadays the drivers have to go more to the gym, have to do a lot of physical training – and we must not forget that these cars are the fastest cars ever

“[Tsunoda] understands it. He trained a lot during the winter months, and of course from the physical side he is much more on a much higher level as it was last year.”

 

Tost: Tsunoda's future is 'in his own hands'

Franz Tost states that Yuki Tsunoda's future is in his own hands.