AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost says that Yuki Tsunoda has made a “big step forward” for the 2023 Formula 1 campaign.
Following the departure of Pierre Gasly to Alpine, Tsunoda became the more experienced F1 driver at AlphaTauri when it opted to sign Nyck de Vries.
Although de Vries has vast experience in motorsport, including time spent at the Mercedes team, the Dutchman is not a seasoned competitor in F1.
AlphaTauri stated before the start of the campaign that more would be expected of Tsunoda is in third year of competition, having joined it as a rookie in 2021.
Both Tsunoda and de Vries are out of contract at the end of the year, with a pool of young Red Bull-backed drivers keen to make the step up to prove themselves.
But Tost says that so far, Tsunoda has displayed admirable growth.
“Yuki made a big step forward,” Tost said. “Not only from the driving side. Also from the technical side.
“His technical feedback is really good, and I must say, also, his race [in Bahrain] was competitive. I think he got the most out of the car.”
De Vries made his F1 debut at last year’s Italian Grand Prix for Williams, which proved to be a catalyst for obtaining a full-time drive.
Although he is still coming to grips with being a driver in F1, Tost has backed the Formula 2 and Formula E champion to improve as the year progresses.
“Nyck is still learning,” he said. What we have to provide the drivers is a fast car and then they are there.
“Both of them are high-skilled drivers; both of them showed in the past that they can win races, that they can win championships. It’s up to the team to provide them with a competitive car.
“Nyck will step up. If he has a good car, then he will be there.
“You know, if you are a young driver, a newcomer in Formula 1, then it’s even more difficult if the car causes troubles.
“It’s easier with a competitive car to show good performance. And I’m convinced that Nyck will increase his performance and that he will show us good races.”