Yuki Tsunoda says he has found a new approach that works for him, but doesn’t think it will at the British Grand Prix given the new format.
The Japanese driver made a poor start to the season, making a number of mistakes, and it caused him to rethink his approach to race weekends.
Initially this year, he pushed as hard as he could as soon as he felt confident in the car, but in Austria, he took things slower, and after making it to Q3 and scoring points over the course of the double header, was pleased with how things went.
“That [original] approach had worked for me in the other formulas up to Formula 2, but it doesn’t work, or at least it involves a lot of risk when you try it in Formula 1,” he said in the AlphaTauri preview for the next race.
“I realised that and changed to moving forward step by step, building up my confidence during the race week through free practice, up until Qualifying and from then on I try to push.
“That worked well and I also changed the way I worked with the engineers in meetings and how I warmed up before getting in the car. It was a step forward and we found a lot of good ways to work from now on.
“In Qualifying for the second Austrian race, I got my best result of the year and the way I managed getting through the three sessions was really good, especially as I had lost a bit of confidence after I had a big snap in the car in FP3.”
🇬🇧 it's the #BritishGP week, it's the Sprint Race debut… and it's Silverstone 😍 👇
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) July 13, 2021
Given that things went better last time out, he wants to continue with the same approach going forward.
However, with sprint qualifying being introduced on Saturday at Silverstone, there will only be one practice session before traditional qualifying on Friday.
Therefore, he’s expecting to have some trouble trying to take things slow again.
“Now we come to Silverstone and I have good memories from last year, when I came third in the Formula 2 Feature Race and, like the Red Bull Ring, it is a track that I have driven at quite a lot, going back to when I was in F3,” he added.
“That’s all positive, but the downside at Silverstone, given I have never driven a Formula 1 car there before, is that we only have one free practice session before Qualifying, as this weekend we try the Sprint Qualifying Race on Saturday.
“It means that the new approach I started to use in Austria will not work so well this time. I expect that having to perform well in Qualifying immediately after FP1 is going to be tough.
“It will be quite difficult, but I will still try and speed up step-by-step again, like in Austria.”