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Formula 1

Tsunoda apologises to AlphaTauri for qualifying outburst

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Formula 1 rookie Yuki Tsunoda has apologised to his AlphaTauri team for comments he made after Spanish Grand Prix qualifying.

Tsunoda’s apology, shared on his Instagram account, did not specify which comments he was apologising for but it is likely to be when he briefly questioned whether he and team-mate Pierre Gasly had the same machinery.

“I didn’t mean to criticise the team who have done a great job all weekend. I was just frustrated with my performance” :: Yuki Tsunoda

Having been eliminated from Q1, and venting his frustration over the radio, Tsunoda told Sky Sports F1 after the session: “It’s always a different feedback compared to my team-mate, both sides are opposite.

“So, I have a little bit of a question mark: is it the same car?

“Obviously it is the same car, but the character of the car is too different.

“Maybe of course it is just a driving style, but yeah, I don’t know why I was struggling this much.”

He has subsequently posted the following message on his Instagram account: “I am very fortunate to have a group of such talented and hardworking people working on my car and wanted to apologise to the team for my comments today.

“I couldn’t maximise the potential of the car and was frustrated with myself.

“Tonight, I will analyse the data with my engineers and make sure to improve for tomorrow.”

He then added on Twitter: “I wanted to apologise for my comments today. I didn’t mean to criticise the team who have done a great job all weekend.

“I was just frustrated with my performance. Full send tomorrow.”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying Day Barcelona, Spain

Tsunoda had a scruffy final run in Q1 and dipped a wheel into the gravel, criticising the car afterwards on the radio.

Team-mate Gasly progressed to Q2 and will start 12th.

Tsunoda scored points on his F1 debut in Bahrain but has had a challenging run of events since then.

He crashed in qualifying at Imola then spun in the race having recovered into the points positions.

In Portugal last weekend he was baffled by his lack of performance, finishing a lapped 15th while Gasly scored a point in 10th.

The Race says

F1 Grand Prix Of Spain Qualifying

Tsunoda’s radio outbursts have been well-utilised by F1 as a quick source of entertainment this season, which has come as little surprise given the young Japanese driver accepts he has a problem keeping his emotions in check.

While it is amusing at times, in the context of this difficult spell in his rookie season it is an issue that risks running out of control. He went too far in qualifying at Barcelona, raising eyebrows a critical message over the radio about the quality of his car – when Gasly had comfortably made Q2 – and then crossing the line with his remarks afterwards.

There are some mitigating circumstances. Frustration is understandable, he is still young, and while he has worked hard to improve his command of English it is only his second language, one he is still improving.

Tsunoda is very highly-rated and has proven himself to be ferociously quick. The big question mark was always going to be how he handled the extra stress and pressure that can so easily overwhelm someone new to F1.

Four races is not a big enough sample set to judge any driver let alone a rookie but it is enough for a trend to start developing. At the moment, the main trend with Tsunoda is that his emotions are getting the best of him.

He is viewed by some as having prodigious ability. His frustrations are seriously threatening to undermine that.

Click here for Scott Mitchell’s full column on Tsunoda’s outbursts and struggles

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