Tsunoda is in his second season in Formula One with Alpha Tauri and will make his much-anticipated Japanese Grand Prix debut when the race returns from a three-year absence due to the pandemic.
The 22-year-old says he feels no pressure despite three huge pictures of his face adorning the runway.
Instead, he’s looking forward to the “extra energy” he says home fans will provide him.
“It’s hard to imagine me driving there because four years ago I was one of the spectators watching these guys here, and now I’m driving in front of the Japanese fans,” Tsunoda, who has already agreed to stay with Alfa next season, Toure said Thursday.
“I wasn’t expecting the huge pictures on the runway. It feels really supportive and gives me extra energy.”
Tsunoda said he was harassed upon his return to Japan, as fans welcomed him at the airport and waited outside his hotel.
He said he was looking forward to trying out Suzuka in a more powerful car, having previously raced in Formula Four.
“The last time I drove here at Suzuka, I won it, so it’s a good memory,” said Tsunoda, the first Japanese Formula 1 driver since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014.
“It’s a much different driving to Formula 1 so I need a good build. However, I think it’s one of the best tracks in my experience.”
Tsunoda finished fourth in last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for his best finish.
His best result this season was a seventh-place finish at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix but he failed to complete the race four times.
He crashed on his 36th lap last week at the Singapore Grand Prix and he said he still has “a lot to learn” before the end of the season.
“Sure, the kind of mistakes I made in Singapore and a lot of things like sanctions, these things are unnecessary,” he said.
“Those things I definitely have to improve on, but at the same time I’m very happy with the speed with one lap and I’ve made progress so far.”