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Tsunoda's Homecoming Aim for Suzuka Points

Tsunoda’s Homecoming: Aim for Suzuka Points

04/04/2024

Yuki Tsunoda heads into the Japanese Grand Prix with high spirits and form. After a commendable finish in Australia, he aims to impress at his home circuit, fueled by local support and a favorite track.

The RB F1 driver secured a commendable 7th place in Australia, having once again overshadowed his teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

“I’m very excited, it’s my home Grand Prix!” he naturally smiled during the press conference.

Yuki Tsunoda’s anticipation for Suzuka isn’t just because of the Japanese fans – but also due to the exciting and technical nature of the Japanese circuit.

“The track itself is very fast and at the same time very risky. As soon as you go off track, you end up in the wall, so there’s a bit of fear as well, but it’s really my favorite circuit; I never get bored of it. Last year, I managed to get into Q3, which is a great achievement. I met my goal, but at the same time, I haven’t been able to score points in the last two years, so I hope I can do that this year.”

“So far, it’s a good momentum, but at the same time, with each race, we start from zero, so let’s see how it goes; but I feel confident and I’m looking forward to racing in front of the Japanese fans!”

A home Grand Prix means more support… and more exposure and pressure? How does Yuki Tsunoda handle the fans’ expectations?

“It’s very special, yes. I’ve seen a lot of fans in front of my garage. Yes, it’s good to be back here. It’s very energizing and I hope I can put on a good race for them… In front of the cherry blossoms too, you know, it’s very beautiful.”

Few Japanese drivers have ultimately made it in F1 – and Yuki Tsunoda is among them. The reason is straightforward, according to the driver.

“It’s very far from Europe – and you need to race in the European junior categories to get a Super Licence. And to be as close as possible to the Formula 1 teams, to catch their attention, to generate interest. I would also say that the regulations in single-seaters are slightly different. In Japan, you can start racing from 16 years old. And I think in Europe, drivers can start from 14 years old. So, there’s a bit of… a two-year difference, and that creates a kind of late start. That’s why you have to go to Europe to race and measure yourself against European drivers, which makes things a bit harder.”

“And of course, there’s also the language. The Japanese don’t speak English as well as I do. So, it’s hard to communicate well and to say what you specifically expect from the car’s settings, for example. It takes a bit of time. And you want to have good confidence right away in F3 because you only have one free practice session, then it’s straight to qualifying. So, it’s difficult, I think.”

“I hope I will inspire future generations. We’ve already seen a lot of Japanese drivers in Formula 2. It’s good to see many Japanese drivers starting to compete in European races and making the most of these opportunities. And I hope we will see another (Japanese driver in F1).”

A new top 10 for Yuki Tsunoda?

In terms of pure performance, can Yuki Tsunoda aim for a Q3 and a points finish again? Will it necessarily require retirements in front of him to achieve this?

“Right now, our performance is very consistent. Over the last three circuits, our performance has been very consistent, around 10th place, and we are confident.”

“We also have some updates, so I hope that will work out well, but it’s probably more towards the other circuits that these updates will arrive and bear fruit. So I’m not sure the effect will be massive here, but yes, I’m always optimistic, and yes, points will be our main goal.”

Tsunoda's Homecoming Aim for Suzuka Points

Tsunoda’s Homecoming: Aim for Suzuka Points. Tsunoda’s Homecoming: Aim for Suzuka Points

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