Tsunoda surprised to be kept on: ‘I keep crashing’

Finley Crebolder
Yuki Tsunoda doing a track walk at Monza. Italy September 2021

AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda doing a track walk at Monza. Italy September 2021

Yuki Tsunoda has admitted he is surprised to be retaining his seat for next season because he keeps on crashing.

The AlphaTauri driver’s rookie season in Formula 1 has been far from ideal with him crashing out of sessions a number of times.

Given how ruthless Helmut Marko and Red Bull are known to be when it comes to dropping drivers, many therefore expected him to be replaced for the 2022 campaign.

The Japanese driver himself was seemingly one of those people, being surprised when he found out he will be staying on the grid next year.

“The first half of the season was quite inconsistent, so also from my side I was a bit surprised I’ll be staying for next year,” he told reporters in Monza.

“First of all, thanks to the team, and I’m really excited again for this opportunity next year. Just for this year I will learn as much as possible.”

“Because I just keep crashing and spend lots of money for the team,” he added when asked why he was surprised at the decision.

“It’s not a good way to end the first half of the season, especially in Hungary I went into the wall in FP1 and ruined the whole session, almost two sessions.

“I got asked by Franz [Tost, AlphaTauri team principal] and Helmut [Marko, Red Bull motorsport advisor] that I need a more consistent result for driving and more discipline in the sessions.

“I couldn’t improve fully in the first half of the season. Also, I was able to score points but Hungary was a bit lucky.

“So it was mixed feelings – sometimes doing well and sometimes not. So that’s why I would say it was surprising.”

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Because of his crashes and the fact he simply has not been anywhere near as quick as his team-mate, Pierre Gasly, Tsunoda has contributed only 18 of his team’s 84 points this season.

He says his main aim is to improve on that next season but is not setting too many other goals as he does not know how quick his car will be given the new regulations.

“My target is clear for next year but I’m focused on this year,” he added.

“Of course next year I have to be more consistent and have to perform well, scoring points. But we can’t expect anything for next year – it’s a completely new car, anything can change.

“Just want to focus on the rest of the season and fight for the points in the championship.”