Ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda has stated how he feels more prepared than ever to tackle the streets of Monte-Carlo, as the Scuderia AlphaTauri driver looks to continue to build on his impressive start to the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
The Japanese driver was seen helping clean up the streets of Faenza after flooding affected the team’s hometown, as well as the Emilia Romagna region, which lead to the cancellaiton of last weekend’s race.
While admitting the situation in Faenza had been tough for all involved, Tsunoda insisted that his full attention and focus was now set on this weekend’s race.
“We have been living through a very difficult situation in Faenza and the surrounding area, and it was impressive to see how everyone in the community was pulling together to do something to help those people really badly affected, and to clean up the city. But now my job is to focus on this weekend’s race and do the best I can.“
In Tsunoda’s two previous experiences of the Monaco Grand Prix, the Japanese driver has certainly endured two races to forget. A seventeenth-place finish in 2021 was followed up by a sixteenth-place finish last season.
After his poor run of form at the Circuit de Monaco, Tsunoda stated he would be entering this weekend’s action by catering the setup of his AT04 towards a strong qualifying performance on Saturday.
“I had never raced at Monaco until my first year in Formula 1 in 2021, and last year I qualified 11th,” the twenty-three year old driver said.
“There’s a very special atmosphere over the four days. I think it’s an enjoyable and unique track to drive, especially in qualifying. It’s all about confidence; how close you can get to the barriers and how much speed you can carry into the corners, and that makes Saturday very exciting from inside the cockpit.
“It’s the most important day, as it is so hard to overtake in the race. So, while I am preparing, I’m trying to find a set-up more suitable for qualifying, rather than over a long run.“
Looking ahead to his third Monaco Grand Prix weekend in Formula 1, Tsunoda spoke on how he now feels more prepared than ever to take on the challenge of the streets of Monte-Carlo.
“You need to have a lot of respect for the track, build up speed gradually and get as much track time as possible, while also considering that track evolution is quite big and the lap times usually improve significantly during each session. Overall, I think experience counts a lot in Monaco though and this will be my third race here, so I know how to approach it and I am definitely more prepared than I was the first time.”
Nyck de Vries: “Monaco is one of the highlights of the season”
As he prepares for his first ever taste of Formula 1 action around the Circuit de Monaco, Nyck de Vries has spoken on his excitement to be taking on what he has described as ‘something of a home race’ for him.
So far, in his short Formula 1 career, de Vries has found results hard to come by, leading to speculation that Helmut Marko could possibly be forced into replacing de Vries with Oracle Red Bull Racing reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo.
When previewing this weekend’s race, de Vries spoke on while his and the team’s focus is maximising the performance of the AT04 this weekend, thoughts inside the team remain with those affected by the flooding back at the team’s home in northern Italy.
“Monaco is one of the highlights of the season, something of a home race for me as I live there, and it’s also very special in terms of the track itself and the atmosphere over the weekend,” de Vries stated.
“I am looking forward to it a lot, but naturally, for all of us in the race team, we will still be thinking about our colleagues back at the factory and everyone in the region affected by the terrible floods. Resilience seems to be very strong in the region and I have seen everyone working very hard, so I hope the situation will improve as quickly as it can.”
The AlphaTauri driver enjoyed a strong level of success in his FIA Formula 2 days around the Circuit de Monaco, and with de Vries still yet to score a world championship point in his tenure with AlphaTauri, there is no time like the present to recapture some of that Monaco magic.
“I’ve raced in Monaco before, in fact my first Formula 2 win came at the Sprint race there in 2017 and in 2019, I won the Feature race from pole position. It’s very special, but now being part of the main event in Monte Carlo is going to be very cool.“
Like many of the drivers in the paddock, de Vries resides in Monaco and has touched on how he is looking forward to being able to spend time in his own home across the race weekend.
“When I’m driving normally around Monaco, I am reminded that for one week it’s a race track, especially the part from turns 5, 6, 7 and 8, basically from Mirabeau Haute, through the Hairpin and then Mirabeau Bas, just before the entrance to the tunnel, as I turn left there to head for my apartment.
“It means I even get to sleep at home. One year, I thought it might help me feel the racing environment more if I stayed in the team hotel, but it just didn’t quite work because then I only brought my toiletry bag on the scooter driving between my home and the hotel!”