As Tsunoda is 5ft2, he says his team has built a “a special pedal case” to ensure he can operate the pedals in the AT02 as usual.
Tsunoda explained the situation in the pre-event press conference for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, a home event for the AlphaTauri squad as the Imola track is just 10 miles from its Faenza base, when he was asked if he had contributed new ideas to the Red Bull sister team ahead of his debut F1 season.
Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri in the Press Conference
Photo by: FIA Pool
He said: “I don’t know [if] I’m giving them fresh ideas for the car – I just give very natural feedback from the car.
“But definitely I gave them fresh ideas I think for the cockpit – [the] pedals.
“They made a special pedal case for me – I struggle to reach the pedals with a normal pedal [case].
“So, for the pedals and cockpit thing I think I gave them really fresh ideas.
“But hopefully in the future as well I don’t try to be like an experienced driver, I just give them really natural feeling from the car to the engineers and hopefully that all works well for the car.
“But, at the moment, the team is happy with my feedback.
“I think [Pierre Gasly and I are] really similar – feedback after the sessions is always really good for the team. But I’ll just keep the natural feedback and hopefully that will work.”
Tsunoda replaced Daniil Kvyat in AlphaTauri’s line-up for the 2021 campaign, which has left team-mate Gasly as the most experienced driver in a team for the first time in his F1 career (both Gasly and Brendon Hartley were rookies at what was then called Toro Rosso in 2018).
Gasly said he is “really excited about this responsibility for this coming season”, when it comes to using his experience to help AlphaTauri develop and improve the AT02 package.
“The great thing is that with Yuki, we are kind of looking for the same direction in terms of development,” said Gasly.
“We require the same thing from the car. So, it makes it, in terms of development for the team, a lot easier.
“Obviously I have more experience, that puts a bit more weight from my previous experiences over the last few years in guiding and being really precise in what we need, and I am ready for it.
“I think we have a good base already from last year, we made a good step forwards.
“The car is a bit more connected together – let’s say as an overall platform and overall balance.
“But there is clearly things we need to improve and I hope we can achieve that in the short term.”