Rookie Yuki Tsunoda is not afraid to make mistakes in his first season in Formula 1, with the Japanese driver linking up with Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda for the 2021 season.
The Japanese driver is set to embark on his first Formula 1 season with AlphaTauri after replacing Russian racer Daniil Kyvat.
Tsunoda enjoyed an impressive first campaign in Formula 2, capturing three race wins and seven podiums on his way to third in the championship. His performances in the younger series won over the Red Bull about his potential, and in December, the Japanese driver was announced as AlphaTauri’s second driver for 2021 season.
However, the twenty-year-old has had little experience in F1 machinery so far, only running at the end-of-season rookie test at Abu Dhabi and a couple of tests at Imola in a 2019 car.
Despite this, Tsunoda is determined to push hard right from the beginning – even if he makes a few mistakes along the way.
“This will be my rookie season and I will be pushing hard right from the beginning to adapt to the car as much as possible,” he is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “However, I’m not afraid to make mistakes – I will of course try and limit them – but they are inevitable at the beginning.
“I am confident I can learn from my mistakes though, as I proved last year in Formula 2. I am really happy to have the support of Japanese fans, and I’m proud to be the one to bring another Japanese driver on the grid, after Kamui Kobayashi in 2014.
“As for the pressure, I put it on myself, so nothing changes in that regard for me – I want to push myself to succeed…”
Tsunoda admitted that motorsport racing wasn’t his main focus until the age of sixteen, becoming a late bloomer to the sport.
The Japanese began his first full season of racing in 2017 in Japanese F4, finishing third overall, before winning the championship in the following season. In 2019, he won races in FIA Formula 3 and Euroformula Open, resulting in a move to F2 last year.
Despite fast-tracking himself to Formula 1 in just four years, Tsuonda wished he started racing slightly earlier in his career.
He explained: “I would say, to start putting all your energy into racing earlier than I did, without being distracted by other things. Until I was 16, I was not that excited about racing. I don’t mean I didn’t like it, but I didn’t put as much effort in as I should have done.”