How Tsunoda’s F2 experience could give him F1 2022 boost

Yuki Tsunoda is hoping his experience gained from a year in Formula 2 could hand him an early advantage when it comes to the 2022 Formula 1 season.  
How Tsunoda’s F2 experience could give him F1 2022 boost

The 21-year-old Japanese driver endured a challenging rookie F1 season with AlphaTauri in 2021 on his way to finishing 14th in the drivers’ championship, scoring a total of 32 points. 

Tsunoda’s maiden F1 campaign ended on a positive note with a best result of fourth place in Abu Dhabi and he is hoping to build on that in 2022. 

Among several key changes for the upcoming campaign is the introduction of 18-inch wheels, something Tsunoda previously raced with during his impressive one-season stint in F2 in 2020. 

Tsunoda hopes that experience will stand him in good stead for his sophomore F1 season. 

“The car generally feels a lot sharper, with sharper movement and over a long run,” Tsunoda said at the launch of AlphaTauri’s new AT03 car for 2022. 

“The bigger wheels give you a completely different feeling to that on the old 13-inch tyres.

“I’ve experienced this feeling before because when I raced in Formula 2, we made the same switch to 18 inches and I felt the same difference there.

“It felt like a similar step, so I think I can use the experience I had in F2.

“But it’s not just the tyres that change this year, the new car means there are lots of changes for 2022 to learn about and adapt to.” 

How Tsunoda’s F2 experience could give him F1 2022 boost

Having tried out AlphaTauri’s 2022 challenger on the simulator, Tsunoda said it felt similar to the mule car the team used during Pirelli’s tyre test in Abu Dhabi at the end of last season. 

“The team is still adapting a lot of the data for the sim from the wind tunnel, so even if it's not the full specification, it gave me a similar feeling to the car we used at the Abu Dhabi test at the end of last season,” he explained. 

“Obviously, the downforce level is lower than last year and I could feel that through some corners. 

"Overall, I got a good impression from the simulator work, so now we will see at the Barcelona shakedown how the car moves on track.”

AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton described the switch to 18-inch wheels as a “significant change” and highlighted it as a key area he expects teams to find performance in as development increases during the season. 

“The way the new tyres respond and work is different, and our vehicle performance group has been working hard to ensure that our 2022 car can exploit these characteristics,” he said. 

“This work will continue as we learn more about our car in season and there will be performance to be found during this process.”

Read More