Tsunoda: Maiden F1 run ‘physically harder’ than expected

Yuki Tsunoda enjoyed his first outing in an F1 car on Wednesday, the Japanese F2 driver completing a day of testing at Imola with AlphaTauri that proved more physical than expected.

Tsunoda who is in line for a graduation to F1 with AlphaTauri next season was entrusted with a 2018-spec car that he put through its paces while putting 352 kms under his belt.

The 20-year-old rookie enjoyed his outing but admitted the task of driving an F1 car in anger was physically more demanding compared to his usual F2 ride.

“It was easier for the driving, but also harder physically,” said Tsunoda. “I expected it to be a little bit less hard physically, especially on the neck. Because driving in Formula 2, I don’t feel much on my neck, and my neck is pretty strong.

“After I drove a Formula 1 car today, I felt it pretty hard, especially in the braking zone and the braking performance. The braking power is more than I expected. I need a lot of training until maybe the next session and next event to drive a Formula 1 car and prepare.”


The Japanese young gun was calm and composed when he slotted himself into the Toro Rosso STR13, hardly impressed by the prospect of driving an F1 car for th very first time.

“Nothing special to be honest,” he said as he described his initial impression. “I might feel ‘oh, I’m in a Formula 1 car in a few minutes”, but not much difference in leaving the pitlane between an F1 car and a Formula 2.

“It just felt normal, but it did feel special when the mechanics were giving the signal to remove the tyres from the blankets.

“That was really cool, I’ve only ever seen it in games. But I always wanted to see it in real life and see how it feels like. That felt a bit special.”

But out on the track, Tsunoda said the power of the Honda engine was clearly a big boost compared to his F2 car.

“After I put the throttle, I initially feel the big power from the engine which I don’t feel much in Formula 2,” he added. “I think that power is more than I expected, and that was, even in the rain, it was really, really big performance for the initial struggle.

“Even in rainy conditions, I think it was more [performance] than I felt in Formula 2 dry conditions. That was the biggest surprise for today.”