Franz Tost: Red Bull already know how good Tsunoda is

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 02: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit on April 02, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202304020293 // Usage for editorial use only //

AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost has had his Yuki Tsunoda repaid this year, with the 23-year-old taking another step forward in his performances throughout the season so far.

The Faenza squad’s AT04 has proven less competitive than desired, with Franz Tost making some harsh remarks about his team’s development over the winter break after the opening rounds.

However, Tsunoda has proven a constant positive for the Italian squad – finishing no lower than 11th in 2023 and always competing for a top 10 result.

Although his lighting red flag restart in Melbourne deserved more than a solitary point, the Japanese driver made sure to again put himself in the top 10 at the subsequent Baku Grand Prix.

In a hotly contested midfield where points are hard to come by, Tsunoda’s efforts are the only reason AlphaTauri is not last in the standings and without points.

The narrative during pre-season was far less complimentary of the 23-year-old, with many (including Helmut Marko) suggesting that Nyck de Vries would be equipt to lead the team in Gasly’s absence.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 01: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04 makes a pitstop during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit on April 01, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202304010178 // Usage for editorial use only //

Returning to the situation at hand, AlphaTauri’s Franz Tost has made clear that he does need to convince Red Bull of Tsunoda’s calibre:

“Yuki doesn’t need good words. He is fast, and he has done a fantastic job over the last two years.

“And if he continues like this, meaning that he improves race by race, that he shows the performance, then Red Bull will discuss it.

“And I think that he is [driving] in a good way, but the rest we will see. He, for sure, needs another year [before Red Bull consideration].”

Franz Tost has not been shy about linking Tsunoda with a future Red Bull seat; such is his belief in the abilities of the youngster.

A move to Red Bull in the short term is still unlikely, especially with Sergio Perez’s current level of output at the Austrian team. In any case, the AlphaTauri star will likely need to prove himself against another teammate to solidify Red Bull’s current assessment of him.

Tost’s role in Faenza has always been to nurture and develop talent for Red Bull, having made certain interventions to Yuki Tsunoda’s training and preparation to bolster his level of performance.

Although there is a risk of driving the Tsunoda hype train off the rails, it is clear that he is one of the most exciting prospects on the F1 grid.

 

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang