Yuki Tsunoda of Alpha Tauri Honda F1 analyzes the difference in driving style with Pierre Guthrie. He says that it is the “confidence” in the machine that makes the difference in lap times.
Based on his pre-season test run and his debut performance at the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix, the problem with Yuki Tsunoda struggling in the rookie season is lack of confidence.
And on the weekend of the F1 Turkish Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda’s problem with AlphaTauri Honda’s car became clear. It was emphasized that it was a similar issue to Pierre Guthrie’s struggle against Max Felsuppen at Red Bull Racing in the first half of 2019.
In 2019, Pierre Guthrie had a 0.456% gap against Max Verstappen in qualifying, while Yuki Tsunoda had a high 0.570% gap against Pierre Guthrie. In terms of points, Guthrie was 35% of Verstappen, while Yuki Tsunoda was 24%.
The situation is not exactly the same because of the differences in the quality and scale of the competition between the two teams. But in essence, their problems are similar in that neither can adapt to the dynamic demands of machines that teammates can take full advantage of.
The F1 Turkish Grand Prix showed the problem very effectively. Yuki Tsunoda was the only driver to use soft tires in Q3, but after qualifying he said, “The pace is completely different” and “I couldn’t get a feeling similar to Friday’s practice right away.” I complained.
In contrast, Pierre Guthrie said, “Today we made a lot of changes and the car was much more lively.”
AlphaTauri Honda F1 was struggling on Friday with too much understeer. It calmed Yuki Tsunoda, but restricted Pierre Guthrie.
Given the similar setups of the two, this shows that one driver is happy with how the car is driven.
Pierre Guthrie has always favored a setup that allows the rear to spin at once with braking at turn-in, and in fact that approach has given him pace in recent years.
However, Yuki Tsunoda is anxious for a more stable rear end as he crashed early in the season and lost confidence in the car. If the balance shift is not very aggressive when the front end grips, understeer will occur.
After qualifying for the F1 Turkish Grand Prix, Pierre Guthrie said, “I like the car spinning, but Yuuki may not.”
“I don’t like understeer and I’m always trying to set up a machine with a strong front.”
The problem with the AlphaTauri Honda F1 is that it’s a milder version than Pierre Guthrie’s against Max Verstappen at Red Bull. Guthrie hasn’t lost confidence. At least early on, he often delayed the brakes, resulting in the machine failing to spin. In other words, the corner exit was longer than Max Verstappen, and I had a hard time applying power with confidence.
Max Verstappen was also an incredibly capable driver with a wide range of characteristics and was able to adapt well to Red Bull, but Guthrie struggled.
At the time, Red Bull felt that Pierre Guthrie was over-changing his setup in pursuit of an impossible balance. The balance can be achieved with the Toro Rosso / Alpha Tauri machine because the parts are crossed over, but the aerodynamic philosophy is different.
Yuki Tsunoda says he lost confidence throughout the season due to important momentary crashes such as qualifying in Imola and Paul Ricard and free practice in Monaco and Hungary. But he has begun to rebuild his confidence, at least in recent races, despite the lack of results.
Yuki Tsunoda said that the basic balance of Alpha Auri Honda’s F1 car has not changed, but “I lost confidence due to the vicious circle” and “I can no longer adapt to the machine”.
Yuki Tsunoda, who was asked to compare himself to Pierre Guthrie’s driving style, said, “He brakes fast, but maintains more entry speed to the middle of the corner.”
“He’s confident in the rear, he doesn’t have to turn around and wait to feel the car move to spin it.”
“I wasn’t confident of that, so I had to turn slowly and slowly to feel the car first. That means a difference in lap times. Certainly the driving styles are not the same.”
Yuki Tsunoda explained that building self-confidence is the “main key” to unlocking one’s potential.
However, Yuki Tsunoda has at least what Pierre Guthrie couldn’t get at Red Bull. There are more than 12 races to build a foothold for strong performing teammates.
Yuki Tsunoda needs to make the most of the rest of the season so that he can start working immediately from the start of 2022. If it can be done, a great season may be waiting now, like the reputation of the early seeds.
Category: F1 / Yuki Tsunoda / Honda F1 / Pierre Guthrie / Alpha Tauri