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Tsunoda sets target for AlphaTauri as he makes Albert Park admission

The AlphaTauri driver has never raced at Melbourne's Albert Park, despite having competed in one of Oceania's premier open-wheel racing series.

Yuki Tsunoda has admitted that he has only driven Melbourne's Albert Park Circuit once in the Red Bull simulator as he prepares for the challenge of what is, to him, an entirely new track. The Japanese driver contested the 2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series, winning races and scoring podiums at circuits across New Zealand, but he has never competed in Australia. Tsunoda is not the first driver to travel to a Grand Prix this season with a limited understanding of a new circuit. Haas' Kevin Magnussen last month revealed that, due to the nature of his F1 return, he was forced to learn the Jeddah Corniche Circuit by watching videos of last season's event. "The Melbourne circuit will be completely new for me, and I've driven it just once on the simulator," Tsunoda admitted.

Albert Park Circuit will be new to all teams and drivers

Albert Park has undergone plenty of changes since it last held a Grand Prix back in 2019, with the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in a two-year break from the calendar, meaning the layout will be new to all drivers on the grid. A number of crucial corners have been widened, along with the pit lane. There will also be four DRS zones, with the average lap times expected to be close to five seconds faster. "I will take my usual approach with a new circuit and build up my speed over the free practice sessions," continued Tsunoda. "The layout has changed from previous years and will make for a faster track."

Tsunoda sets downforce target for AlphaTauri

AlphaTauri have started the season content with their car's performance, although reliability problems have left them with only eight points after two races. Pierre Gasly was forced to retire mid-race in Bahrain before Tsunoda's car prevented him from being able to start the Saudi Arabian GP. But Tsunoda still feels there is progress to be made in a number of key areas, other than their reliability. "As we develop our car, we will be looking for more downforce without sacrificing top-end speed," he said. "The team has a clear picture of where we need to improve. Bahrain and Saudi [Arabia] were two very different tracks and, hopefully, we can perform even better in Australia, to fight at the front of the midfield."

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