Gasly: Debut season won’t be easy for Tsunoda

Date published: February 20 2021

Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda

Pierre Gasly will be AlphaTauri’s team leader this year as he enters his fourth full season with a new team-mate, rookie driver Yuki Tsunoda.

But while the Japanese driver lacks experience, Gasly is impressed with his speed and ability.

2020 Italian Grand Prix winner Gasly is again an AlphaTauri driver, Red Bull making the call to keep him at the junior team as they want his experience to drive the team forward.

They also want him to help guide new driver Tsunoda.

The 20-year-old is stepping up into Formula 1 after finishing third in last year’s Formula 2 championship.

Replacing Daniil Kvyat at the team, Tsunoda’s signing means Gasly is the standalone team leader.

He, however, is expecting his rookie team-mate to do his bit for the team, saying the Japanese driver has the talent to help AlphaTauri move forward.

“Of course, Yuki’s arrival means I will have more responsibility within the team and I’m ready to take on the role of team leader,” said the Frenchman.

“However, he is a very quick driver and he will help us move the team forward.

“I know Yuki, he is a competitive guy and showed what he can do in F2, that’s why he was promoted to F1 after just one year. We will work together to achieve that.

“He lacks experience, so it won’t always be easy for him, but I think he is talented and it will also be up to me and the team to lead the way.

“His arrival doesn’t really change my approach, which will be the same as last year when we got the most out of what we had to work with at pretty much all the grands prix, apart from one or two.

“So we must keep going with the same philosophy as I really believe last year was the team’s best in terms of the way it worked, the development, the performance and in the way it managed the race weekends.

“I think that goes for me too and we just have to keep going like this to try and do a little bit better than we did last year.”

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As for Tsunoda, he concedes Gasly will be a tough team-mate to beat but that does not mean he will not be trying to do just that.

“Pierre is really fast and already has a win under his belt in F1,” he said. “The first target for every driver is to beat your team-mate but he will be a hard one to beat.

“I remember seeing him in Japan when he was racing in Super Formula and I was in Formula 4. He nearly got the title in his first year in Japan which is really difficult, especially for a European driver.

“He’s an incredible talent and I’m excited to learn everything I can from him this season, as I’ve already seen how integrated he is within the team.”

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