Tsunoda became the first F1 driver to receive a grid penalty for incurring five reprimands in one season when he was penalized for driving with his seat belts briefly unfastened in the Dutch Grand Prix.
It resulted in a 10-place grid drop for Monza, where Tsunoda was hit with a further three-place penalty for ignoring yellow flags during practice on Friday.
While the drop was futile, as AlphaTauri equipped his car with a new power unit, putting him at the back of the grid, it forced Tsunoda to eight penalty points – four away from a race ban.
Asked by TBEN about Tsunoda’s progress and any concerns after his recent penalties, Tost praised the Japanese driver’s displays, but acknowledged he needed to tighten up on the incidents.
“His performance is increasing – look at qualifying in Zandvoort, look at FP1 in Monza. In the car he is doing very well,” said Tost.
“He just needs to get his emotions under control and he needs to be more disciplined because ignoring a yellow flag in FP2 is not smart.
“I understand it’s difficult in qualifying, maybe sometimes in the race, but in free practice you have to accept yellow flags in whatever way and react in the right way, which means you have to slow down.”
Yuki Tsunoda, Alpha Tauri
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
Three of Tsunoda’s five reprimands came for incidents during free practice, when he held up Charles Leclerc in Bahrain, Sebastian Vettel in Australia and Kevin Magnussen in Monaco. He was also reprimanded in Australian Grand Prix qualifying for driving unnecessarily slowly.
Tsunoda felt he was out of control and noted that the new F1 race directors were still “finding the line” around rules for hindering other cars, but was happy to re-count the count for his reprimands set.
Tsunoda has not scored any points since the Spanish Grand Prix in mid-May, but unfortunately missed the top 10 at Zandvoort, where he reached Q3 and was battling for points before a differential problem forced him to retire.
AlphaTauri has yet to confirm its full driver lineup for next year, with Tsunoda recently saying his future depends on “things in the background”.
Tost said at Zandvoort that he expected Tsunoda to remain part of the team’s lineup next year, although there is a possibility that there will be a change in the second seat.
Amid interest from Alpine about Pierre Gasly for 2023, Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko recently met with Nyck de Vries, putting the Dutchman on the radar for a possible AlphaTauri ride should Gasly leave.