Yuki Tsunoda is relishing the freedom AlphaTauri give him and feels like he can do anything he wants when inside the car.
The Japanese driver is spending his rookie season in F1 with the team after being chosen to replace Daniil Kvyat for the 2021 campaign.
He’s made a mixed start to life on the grid, impressing in the first round in Bahrain with a P9 finish but crashing out in both qualifying and the race in Imola.
Nevertheless, he doesn’t have any regrets as he feels that he’s with a team that allow him to explore his limits.
“Even Franz [Tost, AlphaTauri team principal] said to me, ‘do what you want when you are driving and try to experience a lot. Even when you have mistakes, it doesn’t matter, just try to improve from there’,” he told Crash.net.
“For me, that helps a lot with my mental side. I have the feeling now that I can do anything I want when I drive and that gives me freedom.
“It’s a good way to approach each session, even if I make mistakes. I don’t have any regrets about those mistakes. I will just carry on and use that experience for the future.”
— 角田裕毅/Yuki Tsunoda (@yukitsunoda07) April 11, 2021
Tsunoda is the first Japanese driver on the grid since Kamui Kobayashi, who was only the third man from the country to stand on the podium in F1 when he finished P3 at his home race in 2012.
Many expect Tsunoda to go be a step further and win a race, and while he’s not thinking about that, he says that the appetite in the country for seeing that happen has grown after Hideki Matsuyama became the first golfer from the nation to win the Masters at Augusta.
“I’m not currently thinking too much about becoming a world champion or winning a race,” he said.
“I really just focus on each session-by-session. That makes me better on the mentality side to focus on the driving in the session.
“If I get a win this season, the first win for a Japanese driver, that would be really good. It would be really great for me. Most of the Japanese motorsport fans are waiting for that.
“I got a lot of messages after the Masters when [we had] the first Japanese golf winner in history. Especially after that, I got a lot of messages from Japanese fans saying, ‘next, it’s your turn’.
“It would be great if I got that win but now I’m thinking about each race-by-race and just focusing on my driving to improve.”