Yuki Tsunoda’s nightmare trip home with Franz Tost following Pierre Gasly clash

Thomas Maher
AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda after their clash at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda after their clash at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Yuki Tsunoda says Franz Tost is never too hard on his drivers, even if they do something silly like colliding with their team-mate during a Grand Prix…

Tsunoda found himself having to head along to his stern-faced bosses’ office following a collision with his AlphaTauri team-mate during last year’s British Grand Prix.

The Japanese driver had been attempting to overtake Pierre Gasly at Silverstone when, while right alongside the sister AlphaTauri, Tsunoda lost control and spun around – tagging Gasly and spinning his team-mate at the same time.

While both were able to continue, Gasly retired 12 laps later with damage from the collision.

Tsunoda completed the rest of the race with the prospect of facing Franz Tost for a dressing down in the post-race debrief, but the Japanese driver revealed that Tost managed to restrain his anger for the course of their post-race duties.

Yuki Tsunoda can’t escape Franz Tost for hours following Pierre Gasly collision

“He didn’t punch me of course!” Tsunoda joked on the Beyond the Grid podcast.

“The voice was definitely higher than usual. First of all, when I was in the engineer room, he said: ‘Yuki, come to my office. Why did you do such a stupid thing?'”

But while Tsunoda may have been relieved to have seemingly avoided a maelstrom of fury from Tost, he walked out of the office only to find that he was sharing a car ride to the airport with his boss!

“On the way to the airport from Silverstone, we were in the same car,” he said, before revealing it got even worse when they arrived at the airport.

“Unfortunately, on the way back to Italy, we were on the same flight and we were sitting next to each other!

“It was a long, long journey and that was definitely something I want to forget. But they are things I have to remember for the future to improve myself.”

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Yuki Tsunoda: Franz Tost is very direct, but he has a lot of trust

Tost made headlines recently for lashing out at the AlphaTauri engineers, saying that he “no longer trusts them” as the AT04 has proven to be quite a disappointing racecar during the opening three races of the season – a very different outcome to what Tost was expecting following winter conversations with said engineers.

But Tsunoda believes Tost’s words don’t ring true, saying the team boss has just been frustrated by a poor start to the season.

Asked whether Tost is as hard on his drivers as he is with the engineers, and what the effect of such toughness has on a team, Tsunoda defended the no-nonsense approach taken by the Austrian team boss.

“Well, if I performed really bad or I did a stupid thing, like crashing into a team-mate at Silverstone last year, he won’t be happy about it,” he said.

“But, at the same time, he always says the points that I have to improve next time. He’s always not being too hard. He’s always on the side of the driver, which I really appreciate.

“That’s why I’m able to develop as a driver this much, because if I was feeling too much pressure from him, I don’t think I would be able to improve as much because I think he’s always supportive.

“I always enjoy having conversations with him about racing as well. The things that he said about not trusting the engineers, he didn’t mean to say. He’s just really direct. I think he still definitely trusts the engineers. He just wasn’t expecting it to be this bad, which has definitely given him a bit more frustration than usual. I can tell that he still trusts the team.”