Tsunoda ‘surprised’ by power and physical strain

Date published: November 5 2020

Yuki Tsunoda F1 test preparation.

Yuki Tsunoda says his first-ever run in an F1 car put more of a strain on his body, especially his neck, than he had expected.

The Formula 2 driver, who is expected to step up to Formula 1 next season replacing Daniil Kvyat at AlphaTauri, had his first run in an F1 car on Wednesday.

Tsunoda covered the 300km of running required for an FIA superlicence as he put in the laps around the Imola circuit in a 2018 STR13.

“It was easier for the driving, but also harder physically,” Tsunoda told Autosport.

“I expected it to be a little bit less hard physically, especially on the neck. Because driving in Formula 2, I don’t feel much on my neck, and my neck is pretty strong.

“After I drove a Formula 1 car today, I felt it pretty hard, especially in the braking zone and the braking performance.

“The braking power is more than I expected. I need a lot of training until maybe the next session and next event to drive a Formula 1 car and prepare.”

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The physical side, though, wasn’t the only notable difference for the 20-year-old Japanese driver.

“After I put the throttle, I initially feel the big power from the engine which I don’t feel much in Formula 2,” he said.

“I think that power is more than I expected, and that was, even in the rain, it was really, really big performance for the initial struggle.

“Even in rainy conditions, I think it was more [performance] than I felt in Formula 2 dry conditions. That was the biggest surprise for today.

“The experience from practicing in the simulator in Red Bull helped me a lot to get used to it really quickly, and the end of the session was really consistently fast.

“Even in race sim, the lap times were really consistent, even while I’m doing lots of things on the steering every lap, almost every single corner. That was a good step for me.”

Tsunoda is expected to contest a Friday practice session with AlphaTauri later this season before taking part in the post-season young driver test.

Speaking about the F2 driver’s chances of stepping up into F1 next season, AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost said: “He has another two races in Bahrain and we will see where he is finishing the F2 championship with regards to the super licence,” said Tost.

“Then he will do the Abu Dhabi young driver test and then Red Bull will decide who will be the driver line-up will be for AlphaTauri in 2021.”

Tsunoda has won two Formula 2 races and sits third in the standings with 147 points, 44 behind championship leader Mick Schumacher.

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