Yuki Tsunoda has said that Nyck de Vries deserved until the summer break to prove his AlphaTauri credentials, but is not surprised that the Dutchman was fired.
De Vries lasted 10 races before being replaced by Daniel Ricciardo on July 11th, after struggling to adjust to the high demands of Formula 1 racing, having failed to register a single point with the Italian team.
Despite winning their head-to-head 8-2, Tsunoda feels that his teammate may have prematurely been dropped from the Red Bull programme.
“I think he deserved more than 10 races,” Tsunoda said to members of the media ahead of the Hungarian GP. “Especially with a couple of tracks he’d never gone to, so I think so.
“But at the same time, I know what Red Bull are saying but yeah, I think he deserved until the summer break at least, right?”
Tsunoda’s advice to Ricciardo
Tsunoda is now joined by Ricciardo, who has won eight F1 races and stood on the podium for a total of 32 times.
Ricciardo represents a tough test for the Japanese driver but not one he was surprised to know was on the way.
“Well there were big rumours already,” Tsunoda added to the media. “So I was not really surprised but I was still surprised when I heard.
“I was doing simulator work on that day and Christian [Horner] just told me before the news when we met in the factory.”
AlphaTauri represents the sixth different name Ricciardo has driven for in F1, although he previously raced for its predecessor, Toro Rosso, in 2012.
He takes on a car that has managed just two points finishes in 2023 and Tsunoda has warned the Australian not to expect the ATO4 to be straightforward.
“It’s not an easy car to drive, to be honest,” Tsunoda further said to media. “The car is, for me, less difficult to adapt to compared to 2021’s cars.
“This car is like last year, with 18 inch tyres and less grip in the slow speed. So I don’t think it’s super hard to adapt, but it’s still hard.”