AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda has revealed that he is excited about a “new experience” of racing at his home race in 2022 Japanese GP.
Tsunoda made his F1 debut last season but logistical issues related to the Coronavirus pandemic meant that the Japanese Grand Prix was cancelled, consequently denying him the chance to race on home soil as a F1 driver until this weekend.
The 22 year-old therefore is “looking forward” to finally driving around Suzuka in front of his home fans for the first time as a F1 driver, yet he has revealed that he is trying to view his home event as “just another race.”
This weekend though won’t be Tsunoda’s first experience of Suzuka, having previously driven around the circuit in Formula 4, yet he felt that his “experience” could count for little if reality reflects how he experienced Suzuka in a F1 simulator as “a very different world.”
Explaining exactly why he believes there is a huge difference between the two categories, Tsunoda commented: “Actually, because you have so much more downforce, I think you are on the throttle for more of the lap in a Formula 1 car than in Formula 4.
“The view of the track changes completely and it’s like a whole new track.”
He however is hopeful that his past experience can “still be useful” in terms of memory as he prepares for his first home race with AlphaTauri.
Japanese motorsport fans though do relish this event as demonstrated by creative banners and other artistic means, so Tsunoda is participating “a lot of interest from the fans” which will create a “very different” feel to a normal race weekend as he views this round as “a new experience.”
On whether the extra attention and presence of family and friends will affect him mentally, Tsunoda said: “I am happy about the attention; I am the sort of person that does not feel much pressure from other people anyway.
When I’m driving, I only pay attention to myself and all that support will give me extra energy on every lap in a positive way, and that will be helpful and nice.
“Many of my friends and family will be coming to Suzuka and I know that even those for whom I couldn’t get passes, have bought tickets. And a very important final point, I get to eat Japanese food for a whole week!”
Tsunoda though is coming into this race off the back of a mid-race retirement in Singapore but had taken the positive of a rare Q3 appearance, amidst “tricky” wet-to-dry conditions which affected both Qualifying and the race.