Did Helmut Marko hurt you when he called you “little Japanese”?

(Motorsport-Total.com) – There are Formula 1 drivers whose aura can’t be ignored when they enter a room. Fernando Alonso is certainly one of them, as is Lewis Hamilton. Then the drivers of Formula 1 don’t stand out. One of them is Yuki Tsunoda. However – or slightly: exactly due to this! – We thought it might be good to ask a 22-year-old single Japanese for an interview.

Yuki Tsunoda: “Little Japanese” has come a good distance in Formula 1


Helmut Marko typically says: “Yuki, our little Japanese.” The phrases of a Red Bull motorsport marketing consultant with a smile on his face and kindness in his coronary heart can typically be taken as an insult in a politically right society in 2022. So, within the interview, we requested how Tsunoda (1.59 meters) sees it.

When we caught up with him on the sidelines of the Italian Grand Prix, he wasn’t 100% positive if he would proceed to run for AlfaTauri in 2023. Marco didn’t conceal it behind closed doorways, nevertheless it was solely formally introduced on Thursday. Now it is clear: “Little Yuki” will be part of the large circus for not less than one other 12 months.

On his Formula 1 debut in Bahrain in 2021, he made a memorable impression and completed ninth, instantly incomes championship factors. Formula 1 sporting director Ross Brawn praised him beforehand, describing him as “the most effective rookie in years”. Marco was additionally enthusiastic and confirmed.

But then the 4 zeros adopted in a row, together with many remnants of AlphaTauri. Tsunoda was in a position to stabilize solely in 2022 – the hole with teammate Pierre Gasly additionally narrowed. Maybe as a result of his workforce requested him to maneuver to Faenza greater than a 12 months in the past…

No morning run with French Toast

Question: “Yuki, the workforce has requested you to maneuver to Faenza for extra bodily coaching and higher psychological care. I’ve all the time puzzled what which means in concrete phrases. Now go for a run with Franz Toast within the morning. and at dinner?”
Yuki Tsunoda: “No. Honestly, I by no means run into him. I’ve a psychologist now, however he lives in Austria. It’s not like I see him on a regular basis.”

“My life in Faenza is such that I practice loads there. In truth, not a lot has modified in comparison with the 12 months when I moved to Italy. But now I dedicate extra time to bodily coaching.”

Question: “Have you spent extra time with Franz Tost since you moved to Faenza?”
Tsunoda: “Sometimes we now have lunch collectively. But not daily. It’s good to speak to him at lunch or when we meet on the manufacturing unit. I typically go to speak to the engineers.”

This is what the Formula 1 manufacturing unit seems like from the within!

Inside AlphaTauri: Haven’t You Seen Behind the Scenes of a Formula 1 Factory? Then be part of us for a manufacturing unit tour with workforce supervisor Franz Tost! More Formula 1 Videos

Question: “We had a manufacturing unit tour earlier than Imola for our YouTube channel. Franz Tost informed us that workforce supervisor Graham Watson’s spouse gave you a language lesson.”
Tsunoda: “But not anymore. It was solely English, not Italian.”

Why is sweet English so necessary for a racing driver?

Question: “I do not converse Japanese. If I think about residing alone in an house in Tokyo, I’d be very bored there. How are you doing in Faenza as a Japanese? Have you met any associates?”
Tsunoda: “English courses helped. Especially with pronunciation.”

“Pronunciation is essential. First, as a result of there’s not often a misunderstanding afterwards. Second, the voices on the pit radio aren’t clear. Pronunciation is extra necessary in order that the suggestions reaches the workforce as clearly as potential. helped.”

“But as I mentioned earlier than, I haven’t got English classes now. To be trustworthy, I’m very glad about it! I’m glad that I’m creating properly as a driver. And as for English, it is worrying, I believe it is significantly better than final 12 months. It’s a superb factor.”

Aren’t all of us totally different in overseas languages?

We briefly press the pause button on the interview. The picture of “Yuki, the little Japanese”, which we thought of earlier than this interview and targeted on the subject of language, may be associated to her bettering however restricted information of English. It is regular to seem extra assured in your native language than in a overseas language.

I, the creator of those strains, nonetheless keep in mind my early days as a Formula 1 journalist, when I did not converse English in addition to I do at the moment, and due to my restricted vocabulary, I typically unconsciously threw swear phrases round. “Happiness” and “shit” and no matter they’re called as a result of I do not know how you can appropriately classify their notion by others.

So one wonders whether or not a Japanese-speaking Yuki Tsunoda has a totally totally different persona than an English- and even an Italian-speaking one, and whether or not this has one thing to don’t solely with Helmut Marko, but in addition with the way in which he is perceived: someway charming, Japanese in Italy – however he is in his mom tongue perhaps not as a powerful persona.


Tsunoda: “I’ve just a few associates who actually really feel the identical approach. I’ve associates in Europe who suppose my pronunciation is humorous when I converse Japanese. We chuckle about it.”

“One downside was that I used so many swear phrases. But I’m getting used to it. I really feel that when I converse English, my tone of voice is regularly turning into extra pure, like in Japanese. Because the extra I converse, the extra assured I change into. Speak English.”

“I do not really feel like I’m a local speaker now. But I really like talking English and I’m beginning to really feel like I can specific myself higher when it comes to vocabulary. I’m glad about that.”

Lunch with toast: that is how the “Tough Dog” eats!

In this interview, Scuderia AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost talks concerning the soft-spoken present technology in Formula 1. More Formula 1 Videos

Question: “So, when you’re not on the manufacturing unit, you sit alone in your house in Faenza. Don’t you typically get bored when you do not have associates round? Or do you have too little free time for that? Does it occur typically?”
Tsunoda: “This is likely one of the the explanation why I play plenty of on-line video games. Online video games are necessary for me to alleviate stress.”

“Also, when I’m taking part in, I can speak to my associates in Japan on the identical time. Unfortunately, I not often meet my associates in Japan. Playing video games is an efficient option to speak to them not less than occasionally, even when it is simply on-line.”

“But now I’ve some good associates in Milan and Italy as properly. Some of them are from the workforce. They typically invite me to their home for a barbecue.”

Question: “Do you grill your self?”
Tsunoda: “Yes! I’m very pleased with my life in Faenza.”

Tsunoda and Helmut Marko: a particular relationship

Question: “Helmut Marko typically talks about “Yuki, our little Japanese” in interviews. Does it hassle you when you are perceived as ‘little Yuki’?”
Tsunoda: “I do not know. What I can say is that we now have a superb relationship. I see him not solely as my boss, however as a good friend and a mentor.”

“50 % of the time we discuss different issues off the monitor, 50 % about racing. We get alongside properly. He’s taken care of me since I used to be driving junior formulation. That’s why I’m a Formula 1 driver at the moment. I’m with out him. Yes, we now have a superb relationship.”

Yuki Tsunoda, Helmut Marko

Father’s Friend: Yuki Tsunoda talks to Helmut Marko scaling

Question: “Helmut Marko has been recognized to typically name his drivers early within the morning. Have you ever had the identical?”
Tsunoda: “Just a few instances! But not typically. Luckily. But I’m normally an early riser myself. Okay.”

Home Premiere: Waiting for Suzuka

2022 is a particular 12 months for Tsunoda. On October 9, he will make his debut on the Japanese Grand Prix, his residence Grand Prix, in entrance of household and associates who normally solely help him on tv. Tsunoda has been driving Formula 1 since 2021, however there was no Grand Prix at Suzuka in 2020 and 2021 because of the corona pandemic.

Question: “It’s extra necessary to be a star in Japan than in Europe. I believe you can go unrecognized in Italy, nevertheless it’s totally different in Japan, is not it?”
Tsunoda: “Honestly, I believe I’m higher recognized in Italy than in Japan.”

“Formula 1 is a giant factor in Japan, that is true. But not as massive as when Ayrton Senna was driving. There hasn’t been a Japanese Formula 1 driver for a very long time, not even a Japanese producer for a very long time. The curiosity has gone down. But I’ve seen plenty of followers from Japan get all for Formula 1. I hope I can do one thing for you.”

“I’m not in Japan fairly often, so it is laborious to evaluate how common Formula 1 is there now. I’m in Japan three weeks a 12 months, and the final time I spent two of them in quarantine. I’m “on the market loads.”

Waiting for items from Japanese followers

Question: “When was the final time you had been in Japan?”
Tsunoda: “In January. To go to my household and associates. But I’m wanting ahead to Japan. I heard the tickets bought out early. It’s wonderful. I can not wait to trip in entrance of the Japanese followers!”

Question: “Suzuka is known for its followers who deliver all types of bizarre items for the drivers. Are you anticipating plenty of teddy bears and marriage proposals?”
Tsunoda: “I’ve by no means had a teddy bear! That can be good.”

“Honestly, Japanese followers are very inventive followers. They make their very own helmets with DRS. They are actually followers of motorsports. I can not wait to see the inventive concepts of the followers. And the prizes! Those are the issues I’m wanting ahead to essentially the most.”

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