BARCELONA (REUTERS) – Retired world champion Jenson Button warned Yuki Tsunoda to watch his words after the Japanese Formula One rookie publicly criticised the performance of his AlphaTauri car in Spanish Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday (May 8).
The 20-year-old has already acquired a reputation for swearing over the team radio, and at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya he questioned his car’s setup compared to that of team mate Pierre Gasly.
“I just feel from my side the car is really slow,” he said.
“It’s always different feedback compared to my team-mate, every time it’s the opposite,” he said.
“I have a little bit of a question mark if it’s the same car… Of course it’s the same car but the character of the car is too different… I don’t understand what’s happened, why I’m struggling this much.”
Gasly qualified 12th while Honda-backed Tsunoda, three days before his birthday and in his fourth Formula One race, starts 16th.
“I think he’s got to control his anger a little bit, teams don’t like it when you talk out like that,” said Button, who had a close relationship with Honda during his F1 career, as a pundit for Sky Sports television.
“He needs to control that if he wants to stay in this sport, especially with (team boss) Franz (Tost). You can’t speak about the car like that or speak about the team like that.
“He’s got to get back, see what his team mate’s doing differently and discuss it with the team – not in public,” added the Briton, who now works also with Williams as a senior adviser.
Tsunoda has been rated Japan’s best prospect in years, and he scored points on his debut in Bahrain with the Red Bull-owned team.