Tsunoda poised for extra track time at Imola

Date published: January 21 2021 - Tom Rawcliffe

Yuki Tsunoda

AlphaTauri‘s new man Yuki Tsunoda is set to undergo some extra pre-season running in an old car as the team ready him for the 2021 season.

Tsunoda is heading into his first campaign in Formula 1 with the Italian-based constructor off the back of a P3 finish last term in Formula 2.

That transition is rarely an easy one, and has arguably been made much more difficult for the rookies this year – and for those switching teams – as pre-season testing has been cut back to just three days in Bahrain. Drivers were previously given eight days but last year had six.

The decision was made on the basis of the regulation changes being delayed until 2022, so modifications to the car will be relatively minor heading into the new season.

AlphaTauri are therefore planning to give their new man experience in an older car, 2019-spec or earlier according to the rules, at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola as they attempt to ease his transition to his new drive.

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While the focus is on Tsunoda, the reportedly planned two separate sessions in Italy, as reported by Autosport, are also for the benefit of his team-mate Pierre Gasly, who will also get a run out.

Tsunoda is set to take to the track next week (27-28 January) in an older spec car before later returning on 23-25 February, where AlphaTauri are likely to have a filming day for their 2021 challenger.

Teams are restricted to only three days of official testing but exceptions to the rule include two ‘Promotional Event’ days when they can use their contemporary cars.

Conditions of this ruling are that they are limited to 100km and only special filming-day tyres can be used.

While the 2021 AlphaTauri car is yet to be unveiled, there are some things we already know about it – one of which is that they will be sticking with Honda power units for the company’s final year in Formula 1.

AlphaTauri are also believed to have gone for a narrower nose, although they have decided against using the full rear end of the RB16.

Tsunoda will be hoping to quickly get to grips with his new car as he looks to continue the progress made by his new team last season – the highlight of their year undoubtedly being the remarkable victory for Gasly at Monza.

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