Yuki Tsunoda hopeful of top 10 result with VCARB to start 2024

Jaden Diaz

After the very first assessment of the Visa Cash App RB team’s start to the season, with the words of Daniel Ricciardo on the second day of testing, Yuki Tsunoda also offered his point of view on the team’s seasonal debut.

The Japanese driver explained how the team’s work is structured over the three days of testing, also highlighting the most important pitfalls to face.

One of the question marks relates to the constantly changing conditions on the Sakhir track:

“The conditions are very different between morning and afternoon. the morning is more representative, and it is very difficult to make comparisons between teammates.

“If it were four days, at least we would have two days each, and it would make more sense,” explained Tsunoda

This links to what Fernando Alonso said yesterday in the press conference when he highlighted the absolute criticality of doing just three days of testing to prepare for a championship. 

On a personal level, the Japanese driver said he had grown significantly compared to three years ago when he debuted with the Faenza team:

“I feel like a more complete driver. Before, I was more focused on making time to attract attention, while now I’m focused on giving the team what it needs to progress. I think more as a team player.”

An aspect that underlines greater maturity at the wheel and in team synergy, a factor put to the test last year when he faced a season with three different teammates.

“Last year, I learned a lot of things from my teammates, especially from Daniel. He has characteristics I don’t have, he is very calm during the race, and is very specific when he talks to the engineers to describe the details of the car. 

“I try to take what I can from him,” said Yuki Tsunoda, who highlighted how much as you want to fight with your teammate, the main intent is to row in the same direction for the growth of the team.

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On the development front of the VCARB 01, Tsunoda explained how the team’s work towards the end of the 2023 season bore the desired results on the new single-seater.

A car which, as Ricciardo also underlined, is a good evolution of the one that closed the last world championship.

“The car isn’t that different to the one we had in Abu Dhabi, the sensations in terms of grip aren’t that different. We need to have confirmations on a development level, but the work we have done is correct.”

These are encouraging prospects also from Yuki Tsunoda, who, just like his teammate, defined the prospects that place the team within the top 5 already at the beginning of the season as ambitious:

“If we manage to be in the top 10, it will already be a great result,” explained the Japanese driver.

Elsewhere, it’s the Ferrari SF-24 that has caught Tsunoda’s attention.

“I saw the onboards, and they have made progress on the balance of the car; last year, they had an oversteer on entry. Now, they are more solid, and the car seems very fun to drive. 

“They may not be as strong as Red Bull, but they have made a big step.”

A Red Bull, which for Tsunoda does not just represent the benchmark on the track, but rather a possible possibility for his own future, while distancing himself from too hasty reasoning:

“Red Bull is the strongest team at the moment, and as an F1 driver, you want to go to the strongest team. My relationship with them has been strong since I was 16. In the future, I would like to be in that seat.”

Author: Loris Preziosa

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang