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 one in every of them, as is Lewis Hamilton. Then the drivers of Formula 1 don’t stand out. One of them is Yuki Tsunoda. However – or fairly: exactly due to this! – We thought it will 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 generally says: “Yuki, our little Japanese.” The phrases of a Red Bull motorsport advisor with a smile on his face and kindness in his coronary heart can generally 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 a minimum of 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 perfect 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 crew requested him to maneuver to Faenza greater than a 12 months in the past…

No morning run with French Toast

Question: “Yuki, the crew has requested you to maneuver to Faenza for extra bodily coaching and higher psychological care. I’ve at all times questioned what meaning 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 prepare so much there. In reality, 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 every single day. 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 appears to be like 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 crew 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 crew 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 essential for a racing driver?

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

“Pronunciation is essential. First, as a result of there may be hardly ever a misunderstanding afterwards. Second, the voices on the pit radio usually are not clear. Pronunciation is extra essential in order that the suggestions reaches the crew as clearly as attainable. helped.”

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

Aren’t all of us completely different in international languages?

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

I, the writer of those strains, nonetheless bear in mind my early days as a Formula 1 journalist, when I did not communicate English in addition to I do at present, and due to my restricted vocabulary, I generally unconsciously threw swear phrases round. “Happiness” and “shit” and no matter they’re called as a result of I do not know tips on how to accurately classify their notion by others.

So one wonders whether or not a Japanese-speaking Yuki Tsunoda has a totally completely different character 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 possibly not as a robust character.


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

“One drawback was that I used so many swear phrases. But I’m getting used to it. I really feel that when I communicate English, my tone of voice is regularly turning into extra pure, like in Japanese. Because the extra I communicate, the extra assured I grow to be. 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 by way of vocabulary. I’m joyful about that.”

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

In this interview, Scuderia AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost talks in regards to 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 condo in Faenza. Don’t you generally get bored when you haven’t got pals 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 a whole lot of on-line video games. Online video games are essential for me to alleviate stress.”

“Also, when I’m enjoying, I can speak to my pals in Japan on the identical time. Unfortunately, I hardly ever meet my pals in Japan. Playing video games is an effective approach to speak to them a minimum of infrequently, even when it is simply on-line.”

“But now I’ve some good pals in Milan and Italy as nicely. Some of them are from the crew. They generally 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 trouble you when you are perceived as ‘little Yuki’?”
Tsunoda: “I do not know. What I can say is that we now have a great 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 nicely. He’s taken care of me since I used to be driving junior formulation. That’s why I’m a Formula 1 driver at present. I’m with out him. Yes, we now have a great relationship.”

Yuki Tsunoda, Helmut Marko

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

Question: “Helmut Marko has been identified to generally name his drivers early within the morning. Have you ever had the identical?”
Tsunoda: “A number of 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 pals who normally solely assist him on tv. Tsunoda has been driving Formula 1 since 2021, however there was no Grand Prix at Suzuka in 2020 and 2021 as a result of corona pandemic.

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

“Formula 1 is an enormous 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 a whole lot of followers from Japan get curious about Formula 1. I hope I can do one thing for you.”

“I’m not in Japan fairly often, so it is onerous to guage how widespread 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 so much.”

Waiting for presents from Japanese followers

Question: “When was the final time you had been in Japan?”
Tsunoda: “In January. To go to my household and pals. But I’m wanting ahead to Japan. I heard the tickets bought out early. It’s superb. I am unable to wait to journey in entrance of the Japanese followers!”

Question: “Suzuka is known for its followers who carry every kind of bizarre presents for the drivers. Are you anticipating a whole lot 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 am unable to 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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