Yuki Tsunoda has spoken of how he has adjusted since a tough outing in Monaco, including the “big lifestyle change” of moving to Italy.
The Japanese rookie was instructed by the head of the Red Bull young driver programme, Helmut Marko, to move nearer to the AlphaTauri factory in order to work more closely with his team on a regular basis – so Tsunoda is now residing in Italy.
The 21-year-old has endured a tough overall start to his Formula 1 career. After impressing on debut in Bahrain, he has consistently lagged behind his team-mate Pierre Gasly in his AlphaTauri and drew Marko’s ire when he crashed in FP2 in Monaco – costing him crucial running time on a track on which he had no previous experience.
Tsunoda was keen to take what positives he could from his weekend of adversity though, and says he has taken steps to make himself more competitive as he adjusts to life in the top tier of motorsport.
we weren’t gonna do it but since a few of you brought it up…
we’re baku in Baku pic.twitter.com/FBxCvRR3bY
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) June 3, 2021
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“The experience I got in Monaco is really useful,” Tsunoda told reporters in Baku ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“Basically I need to build up confidence up to qualifying – you don’t want to crash in free practice like I did in Monaco. Just do better this time and hopefully get good points.
“The approach is the same – build up the confidence. In Monaco FP2 I lost a little bit of focus and went into the wall. I think I need [to be] more cautious in free practice especially.
“Also, I made a big change for my lifestyle, moving to Italy. I did maximum preparation with the team last week, almost every day, with the engineers, chatting about this week and the car. Hopefully this big change will work in Azerbaijan.”
With the weekend’s action getting under way on Friday, Tsunoda says he feels in a much better place to compete in Baku than he had throughout his weekend in the Principality.
“For me, it’s started better already than Monaco with maximum preparation, all prepared for me, so it’s just putting it all together,” he added.
“I got told from Red Bull and AlphaTauri to move to Italy to spend more time with the engineers. For me, it’s a positive thing.”