Formula 1 rookie Yuki Tsunoda has gained “a lot of knowledge” from Alex Albon after Red Bull instructed its reserve driver to support Tsunoda off-track.
AlphaTauri driver Tsunoda stepped up to F1 this year after a single season in Formula 2 and scored points on his debut in Bahrain.
His season got tougher thereafter with spins, crashes and uncompetitive weekends throughout the year.
The effort to improve his form has included moving Tsunoda from the UK to Italy, near AlphaTauri’s Faenza headquarters, and also a form of coaching from Albon.
Though Albon has said it is not as formal as him being Tsunoda’s “driver coach”, the ex-Red Bull and Toro Rosso F1 driver has been available to offer Tsunoda support on-site at grands prix.
“Alex comes to Yuki, talks with him, explains to him the track or whatever Yuki is asking,” said AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost.
“It’s a talk between drivers and I think that’s quite positive for Yuki because he gets a lot of knowledge from Alex, and it’s been very positive.”
Albon spent the first half of his rookie season in 2019 driving for AlphaTauri in its former Toro Rosso guise then one-and-a-half years at Red Bull Racing.
This year he has been Red Bull’s reserve driver alongside a DTM campaign.
Albon has described the help he provides Tsunoda as on “a more basic level, seeing how he works, how he operates”.
One of the focal points has been Tsunoda’s communication with his team.
The relationship between the two drivers appears to have started in Turkey, where Albon was present instead of competing in the DTM finale.
“Alex is in the Red Bull family, and he didn’t have so many free weekends because he was running in the DTM,” said Tost when asked by The Race how this support system was created.
“And we said when he is at the track then he should support Yuki. And we told Yuki please ask him questions that he can help you understand everything better.
“It works very well.”
Tsunoda ended a run of six races without a points finish at the last race in the United States, which he said was his best performance of the season.
In Turkey, he ran inside the top 10 early on and had a fight with Lewis Hamilton before slipping back and then dropping out of the points because of a spin.