AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost has revealed he had "no doubts" about retaining Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda for the 2022 Formula 1 season.
Earlier this month, Gasly and Tsunoda were confirmed to remain at AlphaTauri next year in an unchanged driver line-up. Tsunoda was somewhat surprised at the announcement, commenting that he "keeps crashing".
Tost was asked whether the driver pairing was ever in doubt.
"For me, personally, not," Tost told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press. "Nowadays, if you bring a rookie into Formula 1, you must give him time.
"F1 is really so complex, it's so difficult. You can't expect this young guy to come in and show the experienced drivers where to go.
"So far, Yuki has done a reasonably good job. He was fast. He finished in Budapest in sixth position and his first race he was ninth in Bahrain.
"Of course, he had some crashes but I always say the crash period is part of the education process. How will someone find the limit if he is not allowed to crash?
"Now, I hope that this crash period is finished. We are looking forward for the remaining races, although it will not be easy because all these young drivers don't know America, Mexico, Sao Paulo, Turkey, Saudi Arabia nobody knows.
"That means there's a lot of work in front of us to bring him on a good level."
Tsunoda is in 14th place in the Drivers' Championship heading into this weekend's Russian Grand Prix, scoring 18 points compared to Gasly's points haul of 66.
Tost says confirmation of Tsunoda's future in F1 will help him "because he knows he will be with the team".
"Alongside Pierre Gasly, who is for me one of the fastest drivers in Formula 1 nowadays, Yuki can learn a lot," added Tost.
"He can compare the data and with his skills I think that he will close the gap and I'm looking forward to this drive line-up next year.
"We'll have a new car [in F1], so at least we'll have a constant [driver pairing] and that's important for us."
F1 Podcast: Title battle heats up as Verstappen and Hamilton collide again!
It's time for the latest episode of our new Formula 1 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discussing the fallout from a dramatic Italian Grand Prix weekend.