Yuki Tsunoda feels his move to Italy in 2022 helped him in multiple ways, not least because the food and weather there is better than he found while living in the UK.
The AlphaTauri driver had been living close to Red Bull’s Milton Keynes base during his rookie season in Formula 1, and struggled for form in his first year to a degree where he admitted his surprise at being given another year for 2022.
His pace relative to team-mate Pierre Gasly improved last year however, despite his car being less competitive overall, and was subsequently given another one-year contract for Red Bull’s sister team in Formula 1.
Key to his improvement ahead of 2022, he feels, was moving to Faenza in Italy, near AlphaTauri’s own factory.
This not only provided Tsunoda with the opportunity to be close to his colleagues and work from the team’s base more often, the better weather and food options available in Italy helped him on a personal level.
“It helped, especially to feel comfortable to live,” Tsunoda told GPFans about his move away from Britain.
“In F1, when you arrive at a track, there is a lot of stress going around, so it is important to be as comfortable as possible when you are away from the track and when you are in the house.
“In the UK, the atmosphere there was as much as I wanted. The weather especially impacted me. Weather is quite an important thing for me, and food as well.
“So when I went to Italy, I already felt more energetic, more than usual. Then I felt it was a big, important move and was having a good impact on me.
“From then, I started to have a good rhythm when I got to the track, focusing fully on my race.”
Yuki Tsunoda facing possibly decisive third season
AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has said in the past about a driver needing three seasons to truly show whether or not they are able to cut it in Formula 1, and it is coming to that critical time for the young Japanese driver in his F1 career – with Tost even saying how much Tsunoda can progress depends solely on himself.
He will have an F1 rookie alongside him in Nyck de Vries, but the Dutchman brings a wealth of motorsport experience – and championships – from other categories with him to AlphaTauri.
So key to Tsunoda staying on the grid for 2024 after Gasly’s departure will be how well he stacks up against De Vries. If he can become team leader within AlphaTauri for the season ahead, there is no reason why he cannot keep his Formula 1 future alive.
Any less than that, however, and with the cut-throat nature of the sport and a growing pool of Red Bull juniors looking to replace him, he may begin to look over his shoulder.