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Tsunoda excited by AlphaTauri's chances: We're not far away from the front

After a mixed debut F1 campaign in 2021, Yuki Tsunoda has talked up his and AlphaTauri's prospects for the new season ahead, though he cautions that engine development may be an issue.

Yuki Tsunoda says AlphaTauri are in "good shape" ahead of the 2022 F1 season, despite lingering concerns over a potential lack of engine development. The Faenza-based squad, which finished fifth in the 2021 Constructors' standings, ended last week's three-day Barcelona test sixth in terms of both laps completed and outright pace, and Tsunoda talked up AlphaTauri's prospects for 2022. "Already, I think we're in good shape," the Japanese told RacingNews365.com . "Obviously, I don't know what other teams are doing, I think they're hiding their true performance. But I think we're not far away from P1, which is Ferrari, so I'm really looking forward to [the new season]. "There's a lot of potential in the car, but we need to put it all together. I'm really interested in what's going to happen if we achieve that."

Tsunoda expresses concerns over Honda power unit

Tsunoda's positivity was tempered by concerns over the development of AlphaTauri's one-time Honda power units, which will be badged as Red Bull from 2022 onwards, following Honda's official withdrawal from F1 last year. While Honda are set to retain links with Red Bull until the end of the current engine development cycle in 2025, Tsunoda sounded a note of caution over Red Bull Powertrains' ability to develop the current power units. "Maybe one thing we are worried about is the engine," said Tsunoda. "Other teams still can develop the engine a little bit, which we can't do much. It's the only thing I'm a bit worried about, but other than that, [it's] very good." However, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner recently stressed to RacingNews365.com that Honda had been "pushing as hard as they can" up to the engine homologation date, which came on 1 March. Horner also dismissed any speculation that the engine has not been developed greatly from the 2021 model, other than the addition of the new E10 fuel, saying "it's completely new".

Tsunoda "in much better shape" for second F1 season

Tsunoda finished his debut F1 campaign 14th in the Constructors' standings, notably relocating to Faenza halfway through the year in a bid to rebuild his confidence after several unforced errors early in 2021. Owing to travel restrictions, Tsunoda's most recent trip to Japan in January was the first time he had been to his homeland in a year, and he said time at home had helped him recharge his batteries ahead of his sophomore F1 season. "I hadn't been back to Japan since January last year," Tsunoda said. "I had only eight days I was able to spend outside, because I had to quarantine, but I felt completely refreshed. "Other than that, I focused mainly on physical training to increase my fitness. I felt quite weak [at times] last year, and I'm in much better shape than last year." Tsunoda will continue alongside Pierre Gasly for the 2022 campaign.

RESULTS 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix - Sprint Shootout