Franz Tost believes F1 newcomer Yuki Tsunoda will become competitive after just a few races, praising his ability to understand the car quickly.
Yuki Tsunoda could represent Japan's best bet to have one of its drivers finally win a Grand Prix. The current AlphaTauri driver impressed many last year en route to the third overall in the FIA Formula 2 championship in just his rookie campaign. His AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost is another who believes in his potential.
"I think he will be very competitive within a few races," Tost told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"He understands the technique of the car and he is very strong in fighting duels. He has already shown that in Formula 2."
Tost also highlighted the importance of seat time, saying Tsunoda would have a significant amount of time in a Formula 1 car, even if it's not in the 2021 car, before he makes his Grand Prix debut in Bahrain.
"It is true that Tsunoda will get little time in the new car, due to the new rules," Tost said.
"As a result, he can only test with the new car for 1.5 days. That's why we set up a whole program for him and so last year in November he was already driving an old car of ours. Then came the rookie test in Abu Dhabi, another test at Imola and another at the Misano circuit.
"So before the first race in Bahrain he will have driven about 3500-4000 kilometers in an F1 car. That is necessary because a driver has to get used to the speed of an F1-car, the brakes, the steering, the aerodynamics.
"In the last test he also started to work a bit on his place in the car."
Tsunoda will be one of three rookies to make his debut this season, the other two being the Haas pair of Nikita Mazepin and 2020 F2 champion Mick Schumacher. Tost also offered a comment on the latter, saying the German has a bright future ahead of him.
"I have known Mick Schumacher since he was very young. He deserves to be in Formula 1, he already showed that he is intelligent, fast and drives clean. He can win races and the title," Tost concluded.