Exclusive: Was Pierre Gasly a distraction? Yuki Tsunoda reveals all

Sam Cooper
Yuki Tsunoda speaking to Pierre Gasly. Montreal, Canada June 2023

Yuki Tsunoda speaking to Pierre Gasly. Montreal, Canada June 2023

Yuki Tsunoda has denied he was distracted by Pierre Gasly, insisting he learnt a lot from the Frenchman at AlphaTauri.

The 23-year-old joined F1 in 2021 and did so with the experienced Gasly as his team-mate.

During their 43 races together, Gasly beat Tsunoda on 30 occasions before the Frenchman moved on to Alpine for 2023.

Since Gasly departed, Tsunoda has emerged as the leader of the AlphaTauri team and is the sole points getter after nine races.

Yuki Tsunoda refutes thoughts Pierre Gasly was a ‘distraction’ at AlphaTauri

A suggestion was put forward that Gasly served as a distraction to Tsunoda but the driver refutes that idea, suggesting there were other reasons behind his performances.

“I don’t think Pierre was a distraction,” he told PlanetF1.com. “We were doing different things anyway.

“The first year was a different situation, I was a rookie but at the same time, the first half of the season the chassis I had was not very good.

“I changed the chassis and I was matching Pierre’s lap time. It looks from the outside, in the first half of the season especially, I was struggling a lot in that car which is probably true.

“But I was able to gain the lap time because of just changing the chassis.”

From the outside at least, Gasly and Tsunoda’s relationship seemed one of the friendlier driver pairings on the grid and the current AlphaTauri man said a lot of positives came out of their time together.

“I learned a lot of things from him, especially race pace and how to build the race because in the race especially, he was stronger than me.

“He affected me in a positive way, not in a destructive or negative way.”

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Tsunoda also said one of the big changes he has made this year is to do with mentality and says he now mentally prepares for each race.

“I tried to give more feedback in terms of the radio,” he explained. “Like how I behave, I try to calm myself down, even during a stressful moment. Those are the things which I’m still working on.

“There were a couple of races last year where I didn’t feel like I was putting 100% effort into the race week and I felt regret a day or two after the race finish.

“I felt like there were places that I could do more and I didn’t want to feel like that.”

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