Trevor Carlin believes Yuki Tsunoda is on “a different level” to Mick Schumacher as both drivers prepare to make their Formula 1 debuts in 2021. Tsunoda has secured a seat with AlphaTauri following an impressive rookie season in Formula 2 where he finished third in the standings.
Schumacher, who won the drivers’ championship, has landed a seat with Haas next year alongside fellow F2 graduate Nikita Mazepin.
Carlin, though, says Tsunoda is the pick of the new crop.
Speaking exclusively to Express Sport, he said: “I think Mick’s a good kid and a nice driver but Yuki’s a different level, in my opinion.
“He’s by far the best F2 graduate going into Formula 1.”
Tsunoda’s F2 boss was “chuffed to bits” to learn the Japanese driver would be making the step up and is excited to see what he can do in the top tier of the sport.
“We saw very early on his ability, his approach, his work ethic and all this stuff,” said Carlin.
“For him to so quickly get to F1, I think it’s a fantastic thing.
“I hope he gets the time to settle down and learn, because it’s a very complex situation in Formula 1 with the cars and all the people and the technical side of it.
“But if he’s just given the time to settle down I think it’ll be absolutely fantastic. It will be really exciting for Formula 1.”
Tsunoda will become the first Japanese driver to compete in F1 since Kamui Kobayashi, who last raced in the sport in 2014 with Caterham.
The 20-year-old only arrived in Europe two years ago after racing exclusively in his home country, winning the F4 Japanese Championship in 2018.
He claimed seven podiums and two victories in F2 and will now partner Pierre Gasly on the F1 grid.
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AlphaTauri’s team principal Franz Tost said Tsunoda has “the right mix of racing aggression and good technical understanding” to make the step up.
Carlin also expects the young driver to adapt quickly and has highlighted the key traits that will help him.
“He’s a very quick learner and he’s naturally very fast, so he’s got great natural skill,” said Carlin.
“But he listens to advise and takes it on board and then applies it. And that, to me, is his biggest strength.
“You only really need to explain something to him once and he manages to go out and do it for you.
“And then he understands it even more and he does it even better.
“So it’s fairly impressive his speed of getting up to speed, considering how little mileage he’s actually done.
“He’s had two years racing in Europe. That’s it. And a little bit of F4 in Japan so it’s really quite impressive.”
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