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Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda admits being 'a bit scared' when he first drove an F1 car

Arriving into F1 can be a big step for a rookie, and Yuki Tsunoda definitely felt this when he had his debut run in a Formula 1 car in damp conditions.

Tsunoda Mexico
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Yuki Tsunoda has admitted that he was slightly scared when he drove a Formula 1 car for the first time.

The Japanese driver was given his debut run during a test at the Imola circuit in November 2020, with AlphaTauri arranging the event to enable Tsunoda - who was then racing in Formula 2 - to have completed enough mileage to get a Super Licence, which would allow him to take part in F1 practice sessions.

Tsunoda racked up the necessary 300 kilometres needed but, reflecting on it since, he says that he was initially a bit nervous when he first got into the 2018-spec AlphaTauri, particularly given the weather conditions.

"I think I was a bit scared," Tsunoda told media including RacingNews365.com.

"Because I think the first session I had was a bit of [a] wet condition [session]. It was not fully wet, but a bit wet. The first time in Imola, I was a bit scared.

"[I didn't want to] to lose the session straight away after the first lap, so [I was] a bit scared."

F1 car "incredible" compared to Formula 2

Despite this, Tsunoda says that he soon lost any sense of fear within a matter of laps, and that he tried to simply enjoy the experience of being behind the wheel of an F1 car.

"After three laps, I didn't have [any feelings of being] scared," he said.

"It's more just enjoying the Formula 1 car, especially [because] I [was] really impressed [by] the braking performance and acceleration from the Formula 1 car, [which] is just incredible compared to even Formula 2.

"So yeah, I still really clearly remember the first day in Formula 1."

Following the test, AlphaTauri opted to promote Tsunoda to their F1 team in 2021. His debut season in the sport was one of mixed fortunes, and he ended the year in 14th in the World Championship on 32 points.

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