Tsunoda using Macau experience for Monaco bow

Henry Valantine
Yuki Tsunoda leaves pits

Yuki Tsunoda leaves pits

Yuki Tsunoda has never raced around Monaco before, so he is leaning on his experience of the Macau Grand Prix to help him initially.

The Japanese driver raced on the world-famous Formula 3 street circuit in 2019, with the mammoth 6.1km layout being a true test of young drivers’ skills on a lap that takes over two minutes to complete in an F3 car.

While Tsunoda finished 11th on his outing in Macau, former winners of the race include both Michael and Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard, Takuma Sato and Riccardo Patrese.

Monaco is widely regarded as the biggest challenge in Formula 1, with the race being part of motorsport’s ‘triple crown’ along with the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Despite never having taken to the streets of Monte Carlo, the AlphaTauri rookie is confident of the approach he will need to take at the weekend.

Macau Grand Prix 2018

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“I’ve never raced in Monaco in any category, but I have raced in Macau for example so I have quite a bit of experience on street circuits,” Tsunoda said to Formula1.com.

“They’re okay. You need a very different approach on a street circuit like Monaco, especially considering I’ve never been there before. Track evolution is a big factor there, with very low grip at first and then it changes with every session.

“I will have to make sure I don’t lose focus or concentration, but I’m sure I can adapt. I’ve spent a lot of time on the simulator to prepare.

“Our car has not always been at its best in slow corners, which is what we will face in Monaco, but I think even if the car is obviously important, the main factor will be how much I can adapt to the track.

“During practice I will be trying to give the engineers as much good feedback as possible to help them set up the car, while I focus just on my driving.

“Qualifying will be about having confidence in the car because that’s even more important than usual on a street circuit. The key will be not to make any mistakes in FP1 or FP2 in order to maximise my time on track.”

Tsunoda drew criticism last time out at the Spanish Grand Prix for his outburst that accused his team of giving Pierre Gasly a different car to his, for which he later apologised.

“Spain was a difficult weekend for me,” he said. “I was not happy with my driving in qualifying and made a mistake, but I must learn to accept these things can happen and move on. I have only done four race weekends in F1 so far and now I’m just resetting my mind. I’m focusing on my driving and adapting as much as possible to the car.”

While Tsunoda mentioned he is looking to make the most of free practice in Monaco, if he stuck to his original thought then he may have missed out on a day of running.

“There are many unusual factors about this weekend and it was only while we were in Spain that I learned you practice on Thursday – with no track time on Friday,” he said.

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