Tost wants Tsunoda to follow Verstappen’s template

Jon Wilde
Yuki Tsunoda and Max Verstappen talking at the Monaco GP. Monte Carlo May 2021.

Yuki Tsunoda and Max Verstappen talking, with Sergio Perez in between, at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo May 2021.

Franz Tost thinks Yuki Tsunoda needs to take a leaf out of Max Verstappen’s book if he is to fulfil his potential in Formula 1.

The AlphaTauri team principal is seen by Red Bull as the ideal man to preside over the early F1 careers of the most talented drivers in their development programme.

That was the case with Verstappen in 2015, he has since nurtured Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon and is now doing the same with Tsunoda.

The problem is that, for all his speed and talent, the Japanese rookie has displayed an impetuous streak this year, frequently crashing during the early part of race weekends.

Nevertheless, despite also a clear performance deficit to his team-mate Gasly, Tsunoda is being kept on for a second year at AlphaTauri in 2022, in the hope he can add some maturity to his driving and start delivering points more frequently.

Verstappen was similarly raw when he joined the grid in 2015 at the tender age of 17, but six years on he is much more like the finished article and competing in a thrilling head-to-head battle for the World Championship with Lewis Hamilton.

Yuki Tsunoda crashes his AlphaTauri in FP1 at the Hungarian GP. Yuki Tsunoda crashes his AlphaTauri
Yuki Tsunoda crashes his AlphaTauri AT02 after a mistake at Turn 9 during FP1 for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hungary July 2021

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The Dutchman’s example is one Tost would like to see Tsunoda follow – that, like Verstappen eventually did, he needs to realise he does not have to be the fastest driver in every session.

“That’s exactly it,” Tost told the Dutch edition of “This is absolutely decisive for any young talent.

“I recently discussed exactly this aspect with Yuki. He always wants to be the fastest man in the first practice session but crashes because of it. Or he risks too much in Q1 with a car that can easily reach Q3.


“Ultimately, a driver has to learn and experience these things for himself. Max put it into words well and this is typical of the development of every young driver – the process I always insist on.

“I can say ‘don’t risk too much in the first practice session’ but it’s no use. In the end, they have to experience it for themselves.

“I would even say the real understanding only comes after a few years in F1. Every driver needs a few years to really get the hang of the game in Formula 1 and to get the most out of it for themselves.”