Yuki Tsunoda has backed his teammate Nyck de Vries to regain his form after a difficult start to his rookie season in F1.
Since signing for AlphaTauri, De Vries has struggled to match Tsunoda’s speed, with the Dutchman receiving severe criticism for a slew of mistakes in races.
“I think he’s experienced enough,” Tsunoda said exclusively to Total-Motorsport.com about De Vries’ dip in form. “I made [the] step up from Formula 2, and I had only moved to Europe three years [prior].
“So many things were outside of my control [and] I didn’t know what to expect.
“He knows how to improve, his previous achievements in multiple categories are [a] positive, so he should be alright.”
Change in chassis behind increased confidence
De Vries isn’t the only AlphaTauri driver to struggle in his rookie year, as Tsunoda knows all too well about the teething troubles rookie drivers face when entering F1.
After a brilliant debut in Bahrain, where he finished ninth, Tsunoda’s form nosedived as he struggled to match then-teammate Pierre Gasly’s pace, only scoring points in four more races during the first half of 2021.
However, a move near AlphaTauri’s headquarters in Faenza and a chassis change saw Tsunoda close the gap to Gasly, ending his rookie season on a high with fourth in the finale at Abu Dhabi.
“I had a tricky rookie season but for different reasons because, in my opinion, my chassis was not good in the first half of the season,” explained Tsunoda. “I was two seconds behind Pierre in Russia.
“I changed chassis, and in Turkey, I matched Pierre’s lap time, and from qualifying onwards, after I [had] changed chassis, I wasn’t more than three-tenths behind him.
“So there was a bit of an issue with the chassis, but I learned a lot, and it made me stronger as [well as changing my] mentality to improve myself as a driver.”