2021 F1 candidate Tsunoda to test for AlphaTauri in December

2021 F1 season

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Yuki Tsunoda will appear for AlphaTauri in the Young Drivers’ Test as Red Bull consider promoting the Formula 2 race winner to Formula 1 next year.

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost said he has been impressed with Tsunoda, who is part of the Red Bull Junior Team.

“I am not only impressed with his driving in the Formula 2, I was impressed last year in Formula 3 as well and the years before,” said Tost.

“He is really high skilled driver and I think he has all the ingredients together to become a successful Formula 1 driver. He for sure will test for us in Abu Dhabi at the Young Drivers’ Test.”

Tsunoda won the Japanese Formula 4 championship in 2018, then participated in dual Formula 3 and Euroformula Open campaigns last year. He lies fourth in the Formula 2 standings at the half-way point in the championship.

“Whether he will drive for us next year or not, this is being decided by Red Bull,” Tost continued. “It depends also whether he gets the super licence.

“If he continues like now and he will be within the first three or four drivers in the Formula 2 championship then it shouldn’t be a problem to receive the super licence and the rest then we will see.”

If Tsunoda were to gain promotion to AlphaTauri next year one of the team’s current drivers, Pierre Gasly or Daniil Kvyat, would have to make way.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “2021 F1 candidate Tsunoda to test for AlphaTauri in December”

  1. They need to get some new drivers in that car to see if anyone can move up to RedBull and challenge Max. Gasly had his chance which I feel was cut too short. Albon has had more than enough time but simply isn’t good enough. I can’t see Kyvat being promoted again although at least he got a podium for Red Bull in the past so maybe he should be. If AlphaTauri had a driver available that wasn’t previously dropped by RedBull then Albon would already be gone. They are stuck in a situation of having to try nurture the wrong driver.

  2. Coventry Climax
    28th August 2020, 14:17

    First of all, it’s ‘Bye bye Kvyat’. He’s had more chances than many others before him, and he’s still not impressive.
    Nice guy, but you don’t win the war with nice guys.
    The next question is, who will get that seat. It’s not necessarily Tsunoda, as the article already implies, although I think he does a very decent job. There’s also Shwartzman, who might be denied his rightful (in my opinion) F1 seat to the rather mediocre (not only my opinion) Mick Schumacher, and if that happens, Marko might give the young russian a call. However, with Honda wanting Tsunoda very strongly, he’s quite a safe bet.

    1. Shwartzman is a Ferrari Junior Driver not Red Bull so that would automatically remove him from the Red Bull pot of possible drivers.
      I think Honda deserves to have a Japanese Driver get a chance. And 2021 could be the best timing. Rules staying put and getting someone new up to speed and involved in the 2022 Development over the course of a full year is the best case scenario.
      Ferrari might have a problem moving forward in having a good prospect in their Pipeline. Red Bull might too and might have to start looking outside their own pool of Junior drivers moving forward.

    2. Ferrari would be a fool to release Shwartzman. He and Ilott momentarily look stronger than Schumacher, and I would not if they would take the two Alfa Romeo seat for next season. Imo Mick Schumacher to a RB Academy seat in F2 or to an Alpha Tauri seat is more likely than Ferrari releasing a great driver when Kimi is likely about to retire and Giovinazzi not really proved himself, and a German driver at an Austrian team is far from uncommon, especially if he gets bored with being ranked thrid. I don’t think Ferraris has an empy pipeline. I don’t know what’s up with Armstrong, but he’s not full of DNF’s and he’s in the midfield so I would not discont him too much either as it’s his rookie season and he’s young.

      1. …. i would not mind, if they ….

        Additionally yes, Tsunoda will be a very good prospect if he can produce results like the previous ones throughout this season. Although I would like him to stay another year at F2 if he will not carry on achieving podiums, but RB’s rookie ranks are quite empty now, and he is one of the rookies who are really perfroming above expectatons.

  3. It’d be a shame to lose Kvyat but I don’t think he ever mentally recovered from being demoted by Red Bull, he’s never looked the same driver since and so far has been humbled emphatically by both Sainz & Gasly. It would be nice to see him in a different team, though. The damage the whole promotion/demotion driver merry go round that Red Bull have done isn’t a positive one so I’d never agree with demoting Albon – who still has potential despite extreme inexperience and should be given time.

    From F2, Shwartzman, Illott, Tsunoda and Zhou have been pretty good, I’d like to see them in an F1 car. Tsunoda being backed by Honda & Red Bull make him a good choice for AlphaTauri.

  4. I’d like to see Ferrari or Red bull give other drivers a chance to drive the car in a Test. Like Josef Newgarden and maybe Alexander Rossi. Just to have a something to compare against what you currently have. I am sure either would be willing to do a one day Test at the end of the season. Not sure what the limitations are on the Young driver test.

  5. Marko made some comments recently about Kvyat not performing to the standards they were expecting this year, so they’re probably lining up Tsunoda to replace him for next year.

  6. Kvyat hasn’t bounched back the way Gasly has and is lacking pace and consistency compared to his team mate. Every driver has to earn his place to stay in the sport, and I don’t think he has done enough. So naturally Tsunoda would be a great fit to replace Kvyat at Alpha Tauri. Question is, is he ready? Haven’t watched F2 enough to judge that personally. I guess we’ll find out.

  7. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
    28th August 2020, 15:51

    This was always the plan. As soon as tsunoda gets enough points he is off to F1 to make Honda happy. It’s mostly about who your friends are in F1. Luckily he has shown some promise, so we don’t get another pay driver in F1.

  8. Tsunoda has looked good so far this year – it’ll be interesting to see how he gets on if he gets a seat in F1. It’s a tough one for Kvyat but ultimately, he’s not good enough to drive for Red Bull so there’s no point in them having him in the AT seat unless it’s to compare drivers against.

  9. And he’s just gone and taken pole for the feature race :)
    Tsunoda’s been really impressive, I really think he might be ready if he keeps up this level of performance. There’s something almost Lando Norris-like about the speed at which he’s come to terms with a new championship series. Last year’s F3 championship was incredibly impressive for a guy who had never raced cars outside Japan before.

    I also think it’s quite possible for both Shwartzman and Ilott could come to F1 next year, one with Alfa, and the other with Haas, especially if they kick out either Romain or K-Mag (finally) or even both, in which case they can take someone like Perez or Hulkenberg as an experienced driver to show the ropes. I know Haas don’t have an obligatory Ferrari seat like Alfa, but come on, Romain and K-Mag have been in F1 for longer than they have deserved.

    Shwartzman has SMP backing too (hence the blue on his Prema F2 car) so whichever of Haas or Alfa are more in need of sponsors can get him while the other team can get Ilott (if he wins F2, being a series sophomore I think expectations are higher).

    Mick can afford another season in F2, or Ferrari can pull a Red Bull and send him to Japan for a year and maybe dovetail it with sim duties until a seat opens up. He’s not ready, and he might never be anything more than a serviceable solid midfield driver, so Ferrari need to be careful and not ruin his career by calling him up too soon.

    I feel for Lundgaard and Zhou, especially the former who has been one of the best talents we’ve seen in junior single seaters since the likes of Russell and Norris graduated to F1. No chance for a race seat for 2021, and maybe not even 2022, as even if Ocon underperforms, you have to think they’ll want someone like Gasly instead of just a complete rookie.

    Williams…I really hope they consider Drugovich, or give in to sponsor temptations and give Mazepin a run. In a fieldlike we have with F2 this year, being a driver without a team backing you is bad for future prospects. Aitken is decent, but not really F1-worthy in my opinion, while Ticktum is a Ticking Time Bomb.

  10. +1
    Wow, you really cloned my thoughts :)

    1. I mean @wsrgo, but I’m agile as usual.

  11. I think Perez should go to Red Bull for 2021, Tsunoda may not get the super licence points (needs top 5 currently 6th). Then put Albon and Gasly at AlphaTauri for 2021, Red bull can then determine who is the better driver to partner Max for 2022 onwards. The biggest problem Red bull has atm is working out who is better, Albon or Gasly, make them teammates in an equal car and let them fight it out.

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