The force of Yuki Tsunoda’s qualifying crash at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix caused the gearbox in his Formula 1 car to split in two.

Tsunoda had been hoping to follow up his impressive points finish on his debut in Bahrain with a first Q3 appearance at Imola, but his qualifying session lasted just a handful of minutes before he had a big shunt.

The 20-year-old Japanese driver lost the rear of his AlphaTauri at the exit of the Variante Alta chicane and spun into the wall, an impact which caused extensive damage to his AT02 and has consigned him to a back-of-the-grid start for Sunday’s race.

Tsunoda apologised to his AlphaTauri team following his crash, admitting he got “too excited”.

“The gearbox broke in half, so that’s finished,” said AlphaTauri technical director Egginton when explaining the extent of the damage. 

“Power unit, we’re having a good look through now and see what’s gone on. And rear suspension, rear wing, et cetera, bodywork. But the chassis seems okay at the moment. So not too bad, but it’ll keep the mechanics busy tonight and tomorrow morning.

“Unfortunately, Yuki was a little bit too, I think his words were ‘excited’ and he got a bit greedy on the throttle and spun the car around and smacked it into a wall, so that ended his day,” he added.

“But I have no doubt he could have featured in the top ten given his performance up to now here.”

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Before the season had even got underway, AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost said he expected “some crashes” from Tsunoda amid a steep learning curve during his rookie season in F1.

And Egginton insists mistakes like the one Tsunoda made in qualifying are all “part of the rookie journey” in F1.

When asked whether Tsunoda needs to calm down, he replied: “I think it’s fair to say he’s been reasonably measured up to now.

“He showed good performance in FP2 and today. The lap started well, he was not wayward earlier in the lap or doing anything that was ridiculous. sector one looked quite nice, sector one looked nice. He’s just got on the throttle a little bit early over the kerb and it’s all gone away from him.

“I think it’s just one of those things that happens with a young driver when early in their career. I think any of these guys have all had these incidents. So I don’t think it’s a trend of him pushing too hard and going over the top. It just got away from him today.

“In hindsight, he probably could have taken a bit more margin. But that’s part of the rookie journey, isn’t it?”