Yuki Tsunoda says there is tiny advantage with his small height, but it isn’t huge enough to make an impact, which Pierre Gasly concurs to.
Moving on from Daniil Kvyat to Tsunoda, AlphaTauri had to make adjustments to accommodate the Japanese driver in their car. The former’s height is 5ft 9in, while the latter is 5ft 2in – a difference of about 0.7in, which in F1 terms is a lot.
At the same time, Gasly’s height sits at 5ft 8in, which made it easier for AlphaTauri in 2020 between the two cars. For 2021, the team had to make adjustments to fit in Tsunoda, with extra foam paddings and also special pedals for him to reach it inside the car.
For such reasons, Tsunoda reckons that there is no huge advantage for him in F1, especially with his short height. “For me, there’s a tiny bit of advantage, but I don’t see it as a big one,” he said. “Especially from F3 because the FIA already decided where you have to put the weight.
“The weight distribution that you have to put up, you can’t choose like the place you want to put. For weight distribution, there’s a tiny bit advantage, but not much. And for the aerodynamics for me, I don’t see much a big difference in Formula 1, especially as they made for a big guy.
“So first, I have to put a lot of foam inside the monocoque to make my seat position higher to see clearly. We made quite a special pedal case to reach the pedals, we have a lot of work we put in quite a lot of effort to make a perfect seat. So for me, there isn’t a big advantage,” summed up Tsunoda, who had to do extra work on his neck after Imola test.
“I especially worked on the neck,” said Tsunoda. “The first time I drove in Formula 1 in Imola, I felt the neck you get tired from successive sessions, especially braking. I didn’t expect like that big and in Imola, my neck always went forward. Even in the next text, I expected that G force and tried to put more power in the neck, still my head went forward.
“So, I worked on mainly neck and also like all of the drivers said, in Formula 1, especially we have a big G force, especially in fast corners, we have to be stable in the car to keep the position in your seat. So, I worked on neck and core in the winter,” summed up Tsunoda.
Teammate Gasly concurred with Tsunoda on the topic of height and weight. The Frenchman noted of the big work AlphaTauri had to do to cover off Kvyat. “I can see how much time and energy it’s taking for Yuki and for the team to get a decent position because it’s obviously the car, the chassis was designed for Daniil and myself,” he said. “I’m not tall. I think I’m sort of average height. Our height in the car we can change it if we want.”
Here’s Pierre Gasly on his Netflix episode
Here’s Yuki Tsunoda on passing Fernando Alonso in Bahrain