Italian Formula One team Scuderia AlphaTauri have announced that their young Japanese driver, Yuki Tsunoda, will remain with them for the 2023 F1 season. The contract extension means Tsunoda will have spent three years with AlphaTauri, the team he made his debut with in 2021, come the end of next year.
Tsunoda, who joined the team in 2021, replacing Daniil Kyvat, is currently in his second season of Formula One. He joined the Red Bull junior driver programme in 2018 and won the F4 Japanese Championship the same year. After a season in F3, Tsunoda moved to Formula 2 in 2020 and finished third in his debut season, taking three wins. He was promoted to Formula One in 2021 and had a stunning debut, scoring on his debut. He scored 32 points in his debut season.
Speaking about the expansion, Franz Tost, Team Principal, AlphaTauri, commented:
“As we’ve seen since he joined us last year, Yuki is a very talented driver and has improved a lot this season. The pace he has shown recently is clear evidence of a steep learning curve, which proves he deserves a seat in F1, and I still expect some strong results from him in the last six races of 2022. As I always say, a driver needs at least three years to fully get to grips with Formula 1, so I’m pleased he’s been given the time to show his full potential.
“In addition, it’s a testament to Dr. Marko and his driver programme that we’re able to bring these young talents up from the junior categories and develop them. I’d like to join Yuki in thanking Red Bull, AlphaTauri as well as Honda, for their continuous support and for allowing him to stay with us for another year.“
Yuki Tsunoda added:
“I want to say a huge thank you to Red Bull, Honda and Scuderia AlphaTauri for continuing to give me the opportunity to drive in F1. Having moved to Italy last year, to be closer to the factory, I really feel part of the team and am glad that I get to carry on racing with them in 2023. Of course, our 2022 season isn’t over yet and we’re still pushing hard in the midfield battle, so I’m fully focused on finishing it on a high and then we will look forward to next year.“
While Tsunoda is now locked in for one of the two AlphaTauri seats for another year, his teammate for the upcoming season has still not been announced by AlphaTauri or Red Bull. While Pierre Gasly, who is Tsunoda’s current teammate, is the number one option, Red Bull have stated that they are open to letting Gasly go should they find a suitable replacement. IndyCar driver Colton Herta was an option that Red Bull were pursuing, but the American not having a Super Licence has closed that avenue.