Tsunoda confirmed as AlphaTauri driver for 2021

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Italy, Autodromo Nazionale di Monzait

AlphaTauri has confirmed that Yuki Tsunoda will join the team in the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship, replacing the Faenza-based outfit’s Russian driver, Daniil Kvyat.

It has been long been rumoured that Yuki Tsunoda would make his F1 debut with AlphaTauri in 2021 with the team now confirming the change to its driver line-up. Tsunoda will become the first Japanese driver since Kamui Kobayashi, who last competed in the sport in 2014 with Caterham.

Born in Sagamihara, the 20-year-old started his single-seater career in the F4 Japanese Championship which he won in his third year in 2018, taking 7 wins in 14 races. He then made the switch to European territory by racing in the FIA Formula 3 Championship and the European Opean Championship in the following year.

In 2020, he competed in the Toyota Racing Series and in the FIA Formula 2 Championship. The Honda-backed youngster finished third in the series behind Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott, taking three wins, four pole positions and three fastest laps and a total of seven podium finishes.

“Like most racing drivers, it has always been my goal to race in Formula 1, so I am very happy with this news,” he said. „I want to thank Scuderia AlphaTauri, Red Bull and Dr. Marko for giving me this opportunity, and of course everyone from Honda, for all their support so far in my career, giving me great opportunities to race in Europe.

„I must also thank the teams that I have raced with to get to this point, particularly Carlin, with whom I have learned so much this year. I realise that I will be carrying the hopes of a lot of Japanese F1 fans next year and I will be doing my best for them too,” Tsunoda commented.

Commenting on the announcement, Team Principal Franz Tost said: “Red Bull has been following Yuki’s career for a while now and I am sure he will be a great asset to our team. Watching him in Formula 2 this year, he has demonstrated the right mix of racing aggression and good technical understanding.

„During the test in Imola in November when he drove our 2018 car, his lap times were very consistent over a race simulation, he progressed throughout the day and gave our engineers useful feedback. In addition, his integration with the Honda engineers has been seamless, which certainly helps. At the test in Abu Dhabi this week, he proved to be a fast learner and that he is ready to make the step to Formula One,” he added.