Tsunoda: VCARB has to improve poor starts

Adam Cooper

Yuki Tsunoda admits that his VCARB Formula 1 team still has to work on its starts after both the team’s drivers lost valuable places in the Emilia Romagna GP. Starts have been an issue for the Faenza team this year, but the problem was very obvious at Imola as both Tsunoda and his team mate Daniel Ricciardo lost two positions each.

Having started seventh, Tsunoda ran ninth for much of the race, but he lost a spot to Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in the closing laps, with the latter helped by fresher tyres.

He felt that with a better start, he would ultimately have enjoyed a better result than the 10th he ultimately earned.

“With a perfect race, probably I would have been able to end up a step higher position,” said the Japanese driver when asked about his race by this writer.

“For sure that start where I lost two positions hurt my race today, but I was still able to finish in the points. It wasn’t easy with the tyre management. Still, we take it.”

Tsunoda admitted that losing two places off the line proved to be expensive.

“Obviously, it’s not ideal, especially when you’re aiming for probably more fighting with Mercedes,” he said.

“Today I even lost a position even to one of the Astons. For sure, Aston had a good pace today. But still, we would have been able to end up in front of him. So yeah, that start for sure hurts a lot.

“The positive thing is we’re still able to make it work with a 50-laps hard tyre, which wasn’t easy. And I think that’s positive for us at least.”


Tsunoda conceded that starts have been an ongoing issue for VCARB.

“It’s a kind of topic at our team,” he said. “We’re really working hard on the two starts throughout the races so far. We improved a little bit, but for sure, we need a step more, because I would say consistency is not enough there. So we have to look for the future.”

Asked what has to be improved, he said:

“I thought it was tyre preparation, and I think we’ve done a lot of preparation, but it’s not enough.

“I think it’s coming from consistency with the clutch. I will say Red Bull have the same engine, and they are able to have a consistent start.

“So for sure, there’s something that we are missing, or we have to improve. But obviously, we are individual team, so we have to think about our strategy to make it work.”

Tsunoda showed good pace from the start of the Imola weekend, and having been as high as fourth in Q1 and third in Q2, he was disappointed with his eventual seventh grid spot.

Asked if he anticipated that sort of form at other venues he said:

“It depends on the track. I mean, to be honest, this week in Imola, I didn’t expect this much performance, and obviously, every track, there’s always something like this car suits well to this track, or not.

“In Monaco, historically, I’m performing well, so I feel more confident into the race week, but obviously, we never know what’s going to happen. I’m feeling optimistic about Monaco. And we just keep pushing with the development as well.”