Yuki Tsunoda says he is surprised he has been retained by AlphaTauri for the 2022 Formula 1 season after being involved in a number of on-track incidents this year.
Tsunoda joined the Red Bull sister team for his first season in F1 this year, scoring a best result to date of sixth at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
However, the rookie has also made contact with the barriers on numerous occasions, with shunts at Imola, Baku, France and Hungary.
After stating last time out at Zandvoort that his chances of a 2022 stay were “50/50”, the Japanese driver has expressed surprise over his extension.
“I was a bit surprised I’ll be staying for next year,” Tsunoda said. “First of all thanks to the team and I’m really excited again for this opportunity next year.
“Just for this year I will learn as much as possible. [I was surprised] because I just keep crashing and [costing] lots of money for the team.
“It’s not a good way to end the first half of the season, especially in Hungary I went onto the wall in FP1 and ruined the whole session, almost two sessions.
“I got asked by Franz [Tost] and Helmut [Marko] that I need a more consistent result for driving and more discipline in the sessions.
“I couldn’t improve fully in the first half of the season, that’s why. Also I was able to score points but Hungary was a bit lucky.
“So it was mixed feelings, sometimes doing well and sometimes not. So that’s why I would say it was surprising.”
Earlier this year, Tsunoda moved to Italy to be near the Faenza-based AlphaTauri squad as part of his development programme.
With a new contract in his pocket, the 21-year-old is keeping his primary focus on improving his performances for this season.
“My target is clear for next year but I’m focused on this year,” Tsunoda said. “Of course next year I have to be more consistent and have to perform well, scoring points.
“But we can’t expect anything for next year, it’s a completely new car, anything can change. [I] just want to focus on the rest of the season and fight for the points in the championship.”