F1 row: Franz Tost fumed at Yuki Tsunoda amid AlphaTauri struggles: 'This idiot!'

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Tost has said his young driver Tsunoda is fit and ready for the 2022 season after changing his diet. Partway through his rookie season, the 21-year-old moved from England to Italy and joked that his fitness improved after he stopped ordering so many UberEats. Tost said this week: “I think Yuki meant everything a little bit ironically. “If a young driver comes to F1, he is totally surprised about the forces he’s faced with in F1. It’s braking, it’s fast corners, slow corners with right hand/left hand forces against the neck and so on and so on.

“But Yuki was fit last year, otherwise he couldn’t have finished here in Bahrain in the ninth position. Of course, he realised as all the other young drivers realise, that you have to do even more physical training.”

The Japanese driver struggled for much of last season, as covered in the new series of ‘Drive to Survive’.

Netflix spoke to various figures who discussed Tsunoda’s on-track woes.

Teammate Pierre Gasly said: “Yuki makes a bit too many mistakes. Just like, pushing really hard all of the time, and I guess he is just trying to find the right balance.

“He’s expensive as well because he has shunted a couple of cars already.”

During a qualifying session at the French Grand Prix, AlphaTauri team principal Tost can be heard in the show ranting about Tsunoda.

He said: “You can’t brake so much like that, he is on the limit here. He lost it once more. He must be concentrated. We must work on this.”

Tost later told Netflix: “I call it crash period. He overdrove the car and he crashed heavily in qualifying.

“This is what I said to him: ‘Yuki, be careful. You are on the limit. You can’t drive much faster.’

“For sure he thought ‘this idiot, I will show him how good I am really’. And then he crashed “

The ‘Drive to Survive’ series also focused on Tsunoda’s off-track lifestyle.

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Tsunoda was inspired by 66-year-old Tost’s fitness regime, to abandon his takeaway diet and video game lifestyle for a healthier routine.

The Japanese driver jokingly told website The Race that Tost was in much better shape than him.

He said: “Because you guys don’t know how fit Franz is.

“He’s running like 10km from 5.30am which I’ve never done in my life.

“Also last year especially the beginning or the first half of the season I was taking pretty much everyday Uber Eats breakfast, lunch, dinner, and one hand on the game control and one hand just food.”

Tsunoda relocated to Italy from England to be closer to the team’s Faenza base, and said he had trained harder over the off season and could feel the difference.

He added: “If a 60-year-old man can do it, I think I should do, especially as I’m an athlete.”

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Tost said Tsunoda, like any other rookie, had simply been caught out by the physical demands of Formula 1.

He said: “Every driver feels then he is not fit enough.

“Of course, he had to do a lot of training during last year already and during the winter months.

“I think he caught up, I got a year older than him, that means now he is for sure in front of me.”

While Tsunoda ended last season on a high, finishing fourth in the final race of the season, he still has a long way to go to match teammate Gasly in 2022.

At AlphaTauri’s season launch last month, Tsunoda admitted he is under pressure to perform better in 2021 but that he wants to continue where he left off at the end of last season.

He said: “I ended last year well, with a fourth-place [finish] in Abu Dhabi, so I want to carry that momentum into this new season.

“I feel more pressure to perform now than I did last year, but it’s a good pressure, which is motivation for me when I’m training.

“I’m really looking forward to racing again. I feel I have a much better understanding of what I have to do than I did a year ago, I know how to prepare in order to perform well.

“I know what my weak points are, I have all of my experience from last year to build on and I have been working hard to be ready.

“Last year, if anything unexpected or unusual happened, I could not adapt quick enough to deal with the situation, which is why I struggled in a lot of races.”



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