Home Formula 2 Tsunoda ‘must forget’ about troublesome first weekend at Bahrain

Tsunoda ‘must forget’ about troublesome first weekend at Bahrain

by Craig Woollard

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Carlin’s Yuki Tsunoda has stated he must look past his problems in Formula 2’s Bahrain round last weekend when he returns to the track on Friday for the season finale.

The Red Bull junior only scored eight points across the first of the back-to-back Bahrain weekends. It started with a spin in qualifying that left him last on the feature race grid, before a fine recovery drive took him to sixth.

But contact with ART Grand Prix’s Marcus Armstrong at the start of the sprint race caused a puncture and meant his weekend ended with a 15th place finish.

“Last weekend was not good for the championship points and I must just forget about that and think about each session and each race,” Tsunoda said, looking ahead to the finale on Bahrain’s little-used Outer layout.

“The new track has not many corners, almost all of them are right so it will be very interesting to see how that works. Tyre management will be very important again, probably even more than last weekend.”

Tsunoda is still in title contention; 48 points behind Prema’s Mick Schumacher and only able to beat him on win countback with a perfect final weekend (pole, two wins and points for fastest lap in both races) and a zero-point gain by Schumacher.

There are now three drivers between Tsunoda and the top of the table, and Virtuosi Racing’s Callum Ilott would also have to score no more than 14 points for a perfect run to clinch Tsunoda the title.

The 20-year-old also identified the speed that Carlin has shown on Bahrain’s Grand Prix loop, first in pre-season testing and then when it was used last weekend and team-mate Jehan Daruvala took his first podium in the feature race.

“I think the Carlin team are very good at this as we showed last weekend, they understand the track surface and what we need to do,” added Tsunoda.

“On my side, I have to not make any mistakes, be consistent and hope for a bit of good luck.”

It is set to be the rookie’s final weekend in F2, as he is tipped to graduate to Formula 1 next year with AlphaTauri. That will be dependant on maintaining or improving upon his current fifth place in the F2 standings, and if he does not then Red Bull plans to send him back to Japan where he would most likely race in Super Formula.