To make up for AlphaTauri‘s lack of straight-line speed, Yuki Tsunoda has joked the team will have to run without a rear wing in order to compete at the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Baku City Circuit has one of the longest straights on the Formula 1 calendar, meaning most teams opt to run with a skinny rear wing to reduce drag and increase top speed.
However, something even more radical will be required to help the AT04 compete in the GP and in the first sprint race of the season, according to the Japanese driver.
“The Baku sprint is going to be crazy.” Tsunoda told the press. “At the moment, we have a lot of drag on the straights and our top speed is horrible.
“Most likely we’ll have to start without a rear wing or something like that to maximize straight line speed.”
Tsunoda out to build on momentum
Although Baku is not expected to prove a happy hunting ground for the Red Bull sister team, Tsunoda admitted he is looking forward to building on his positive start to 2023.
The 22-year-old finished 11th at the first two races of the year in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but picked up his first point of the season in Australia when Carlos Sainz‘s late penalty promoted him to 10th.
“I made a mistake in Australia and we had to go back to the old flat-bottom spec, which was not ideal for the team,” Tsunoda added.
“I must apologise, but I think I was able to maximise performance and that’s what we did. I’m pretty happy with my performance at the start of the season , so I’m looking forward to the next race in Baku.”
Tsunoda has out-qualified teammate Nyck de Vries at all three events so far in 2023 and finished higher in each race.