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AlphaTauri pile the pressure on Tsunoda with 2023 targets

After a disappointing 2022 season yielded only 12 points and several avoidable accidents, Yuki Tsunoda is under pressure to perform in 2023.

AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost says Yuki Tsunoda ought to be scoring "many more points" than in 2022, as the team looks forward to a more competitive showing with this season's AT04. The Japanese scored only 12 points last year, and suffered a few too many unforced errors, such as sliding in the barriers in Canada and colliding with teammate Pierre Gasly in Britain. "Last year, Yuki struggled with the car. This year, as I expect we will have quite a competitive car, Yuki must always aim to be in Q3 and finish the races in the points," said Tost. "He is a very highly skilled driver and now has a lot of experience with two seasons in Formula 1. For this reason, of course, he has to score many more points than he did last year."

Tsunoda’s seat under threat?

An alumnus of both Honda and Red Bull's respective driver academies, Tsunoda became Japan's first full-time Grand Prix driver since 2012 when he joined AlphaTauri in 2021. Though he showed himself to be slightly accident-prone, the Japanese showed a good turn of speed, notably finishing fourth in the season finale at Abu Dhabi to end the year 14th in the Drivers' Championship with 32 points. However, as AlphaTauri slipped back in competitiveness in 2022, Tsunoda endured a difficult year, and was publicly rebuked by Tost after incurring a penalty for ignoring yellow flags during practice for the Italian Grand Prix. With both AlphaTauri and parent outfit Red Bull having a history of demoting drivers mid-season if they do not meet expectations, Tsunoda may have to impress in 2023 to keep his seat beyond the end of the year.

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