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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

How AlphaTauri’s “loopy” improve push helped Tsunoda ship unthinkable feat

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Tsunoda added that such a state of affairs couldn’t even have been thought of earlier within the season when the Faenza crew was struggling for kind.

Helped by floor updates to the AT04, he certified sixth on the Yas Marina observe and held onto the place within the early laps, rising up the order because the frontrunners pitted.

When Charles Leclerc got here in Tsunoda took over the lead for 5 laps, earlier than making his first and solely cease.

He was solely the second Japanese driver to guide a Grand Prix after Takuma Sato loved a short spell in entrance on the Nurburgring in 2004.

The subplot was that sixth would have been sufficient to alleviate Williams of P7 within the constructors’ world championship on crew principal Franz Tost’s final day in cost.

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Nevertheless, Tsunoda slipped behind the two-stopping Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso to in the end declare eighth, which was not fairly sufficient to disclaim the Grove outfit.

“I gave it the whole lot,” he stated when requested by Autosport about simply lacking out. “To be sincere, I did not know I used to be main the pack. 

“So I am fairly stunned about it. And searching again, in the course of the first half of the season, we by no means thought of it, that we might be main the pack.

Picture by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Yuki Tsunoda, Scuderia AlphaTauri

“So an enormous privilege, and with out the crew effort, we could not obtain this a lot. The quantity they pushed this 12 months, nearly each race we had upgrades, it was loopy. They deserve it.

“And likewise I wasn’t in a position to give in all probability the most important reward to Franz, however at the least hopefully, I gave all of it. And I confirmed at the least my efficiency as a form of appreciation for him.”

PLUS: Why a departing stalwart was perfectly suited to F1’s most pragmatic team

With tyre degradation larger than anticipated throughout the early phases of the weekend, most drivers ran a two-stop plan, with Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri being the notable exception.

“It was the plan, however we knew that it was going to be tough,” he admitted. “We have been form of listening to what the tyres have been saying. 

“And so they held on fairly properly within the first stint, in order that helps. And I feel that was a that was a key second.

“Ultimately what we did on the technique itself was okay. Even when I did precisely the identical technique as the highest groups I do not know if we in a position to end P6 anyway, so I feel we do not have regrets.”

Requested if he had any regrets over the season – resembling his messy race in Mexico City that cost vital points – he stated: “There’s a few regrets, to be sincere, particularly Mexico.

“However yeah, that is studying, what I did there was undoubtedly my greatest mistake all season, and I’ve to be taught from it.”

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04, collide as they battle for position

Picture by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04, collide as they battle for place

Tsunoda confused that the crew’s late-season kind bodes properly for 2024 when the team will be rebranded and have a brand new boss in Laurent Mekies.

“I feel what we did in Abu Dhabi with upgrades is form of the philosophy for additionally subsequent 12 months as properly,” he stated.

“And if these upgrades work, it is a good signal for subsequent 12 months as properly. So at the least we have some positives, and in addition good knowledge as properly.

“So we carry on persevering with what we have performed. Clearly not sufficient but.

“However I do know numerous issues have to alter subsequent 12 months. And hopefully, that can give us a step ahead.”

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