Yuki Tsunoda, Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Gasly and Tsunoda to remain at AlphaTauri in 2022

2022 F1 season

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AlphaTauri has confirmed drivers Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda will remain at the team for the 2022 F1 season.

Gasly made his Formula 1 debut with the team, when it was known as Toro Rosso, in late 2017. He moved to Red Bull at the beginning of 2019, but returned to his original team mid-season, and has been there ever since.

He has impressed with several strong performances since, including a shock victory in last year’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza. He also finished on the podium in Baku this year and finished fourth in Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix behind Max Verstappen and the Mercedes drivers.

Tsunoda has had a difficult start to his first season in Formula 1. Since finishing ninth on his debut in Bahrain he has had several crashes in qualifying and contributed just 18 of the team’s 84 points so far. However team principal Franz Tost has frequently indicated he is convinced of Tsunoda’s potential.

Tost explained the reasons for the team’s decision on its line-up for next season.

“Pierre’s development in the years has been impressive and in his time with us he managed to make it to all three steps of the podium,” he said. “Starting with the second place in Brazil in 2019, he then won our home grand prix the following year in Monza and this year he has already achieved a podium with a third place in Baku. I am confident there’s more to come and this is why we are excited to have him with us for another season. Furthermore, he is using his experience in F1 to help Yuki with his development.

“This year we have seen that the positive relationship between the two, made of a competitiveness on-track and a friendship off-track, has proven effective for the team. Yuki has joined the team as a rookie and is continuing to learn every day, the feedback from the engineers shows that he is absorbing all the information given to him and improving.

“As a rookie, Yuki is only at the beginning of this journey, so it’s good that he can continue what we’ve started together. It’s great for us to be securing our driver line-up so early in the season, so we can now focus on the rest of 2021, where we’re in a tough fight in the midfield pack.”

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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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42 comments on “Gasly and Tsunoda to remain at AlphaTauri in 2022”

  1. I think Tsunoda was put into F1 seat too soon and at the same time, the current juniors are in the similar situation as Tsunoda was last year. Which is why they don’t want to repeat the situation with another driver. I don’t expect their current line-up to be like that in 2023.

    1. Really feels like he’s just a young doorstop like Alguersuari was before a bigger talent comes through.

      1. Bur why would they want to buy a seat at williams for albon then, when they have a doorstop that they can replace??

        1. @cdfemke I don’t really understand that either. Maybe they want to keep the seat filled by Tsunoda to be one for young talent (effectively a development driver role), but also want to keep Albon fresh in case he needs to be brought back in place of Perez if he continues to underperform, since they are happy to keep Gasly in AT and not put him back into RBR. That’s the most logical answer I can think of.

        2. @cdfemke

          I don’t get it either. They have one underperforming driver in the main team – Perez. And they have one underperforming driver in the junior team – Tsonuda. If they want to find the best replacement for Perez, they should really be evaluating Albon and Gasly. The best way to do that is put them both in the same car.

          1. Ross Brawn:
            We’re seeing that nobody can sit with Max at the same team. It’s a compounding effect. I saw it with Michael Schumacher and his team mates. The difference between two drivers in the same team can be small, but somehow it gets multiplied because of the frustration of never being able to close that gap to these truly exceptional drivers.

            You end up trying too hard or overcompensating and that pushes you back. We saw it with Pierre and Alex Albon and we’re seeing it with Sergio. Max is just exceptional and coming to terms with that with a driver in the same team is challenging.

        3. Well, they could easily replace Gasly (but than, given how well he is doing, that would be stupid) @cdfemke, but they cannot that easily replace Tsunoda while they still need Honda to built their engines start of next year, be happy with transferring the knowledge and supporting the production ramp up in RB’s own plant at the same time and grant them the licence to use the tech for the next few years @todfod, @hunosci

      2. I suppose the thinking is Tsunoda has the basic pace and just needs to settle. So hopefully season 2 is much better. Having watched him in F2 I’m surprised with how wild and erratic he has been in F1. His signature in F2 was his relative maturity, his racecraft and tyre management allied to his speed. I think he is over-trying in F1 and I don’t think the pressure of Marko looming over him is helping. He’s far from being a door stop yet (I prefer the term placeholder). But I agree that he has so far failed to fulfil his promise and if there isn’t a big improvement in 2022 then his employers won’t be shy in replacing him.

  2. hopefully, Gasly will leave RB in 2023 and pick the team which will be mastering the new rules.

    1. Probably replace Perez.

      1. If Perez keeps ruining his Sunday chances on Saturday, Red Bull could get him Alboned and replace him mid-season. F1 contracts are easier to break than a Bottas fastest lap attempt.

    2. I agree with that.

  3. Expected news, but still disappointed for Gasly. He risks becoming another Ricciardo – best years in midfield cars and then getting overshadowed by newer talent.

    1. Disappointed for Albon. Tsunoda can do a few years in another series. RB is struggling with both car development as well as talent development. I wouldnt bet on them after this season. Their organisation needs a fresh wind

      1. Tsunoda can’t really do a few years in another series because he has been racing in F1.

        In the wake of Pantano and Grosjean both competing in GP2 after racing in F1, the regulations for GP2, which have been carried over into its current incarnation as Formula 2, were rewritten to state that, if you have driven in Formula 1, you cannot drop back down into Formula 2.

        As I believe that applies across all of the FIA’s single seater series, Tsunoda would have to compete in a non-FIA organised series. If you want him to compete in one of the higher powered single seater series, then that leaves either IndyCar or Super Formula – but that then doesn’t address the issue of Tsunoda also lacking familiarity with quite a few of the circuits on the F1 calendar.

        Having promoted him to F1 so rapidly, they’ve now reduced Tsunoda’s options to compete in other series and effectively created a situation where they need to keep or dump Tsunoda – where else can he go?

        1. @anon AFAIA, F2 is off only if a driver wins the series.

      2. RB is struggling with car development

        Do you really expect to be taken seriously with such nonsense?

  4. Ultimately, Yuki shouldn’t be in F1, not with the performances he’s shown for most of this season.

  5. Fully expectable for a little while.

  6. So what happens if Vips or Lawson wins F2 this year? Farmed off to Japan for a year? Pretty sure Vips would rather not. Maybe Formula E?

      1. @wsrgo I forgot to add DTM.

  7. I’m very pleased to see that Red Bull are not rushing into dispensing with Tsunoda. It is clear it is a case of too-much-too-soon and another season with the team is the right thing to do and I am sure Tsunoda is going to start showing his true potential at some point. Perhaps now that he has the new contract in place, a lot of the pressure will have fallen from his shoulders, and this should help him a lot. And seeing what Gasly is doing in the same car, although hard to swallow, will also give him great confidence in his machinery. Sure, he also needs to learn some etiquette – and that will also come with experience, hopefully (although he is already 21 years old) – but anyone who watched him race in F2 can be in no doubt that he is a really exciting driver. His skills just need to start appearing – and consistently – in F1.

    1. I’m not, it’s disappointing, I think he will never be up to par.

    2. Effectively they have 2 drivers in 2 teams in total.

  8. Bearing in mind that Red Bull racing are struggling to place Albon, who did a reasonable job in his time in F1, I think they should have slotted him into AlphaTauri for 2022. I have not seen much from Tsunoda so far to encourage me and I think he could do with another year or two in a more junior formula.

    I think Gasly and Albon would be a great line up for AT and if they were in place this year, AT would probably have been seriously challenging McLaren and Ferrari.

    1. Agreed. That would be an improvement for the team.
      Yuki is to soon and to little.
      (and to emotional :)

  9. I’m amazed they are keeping Tsunoda, I can only think Honda is forcing them to keep him around as part of a deal to provide some technical support for the new Red Bull engine program.
    I think Tsunoda has the potential to be quite good when supported but lacks the right attitude to get that support. I’ve kind of got the sense that his own team don’t like him, which I find understandable given all I ever see him do lately is underperform and then yell at the team over the radio. I think its fairly telling that the only time Tsunoda performed well this year was at the first Grand Prix in Bahrain, before his team really got to know him.

  10. A bit surprised they are keeping Tsunoda for a second year (probably wouldn’t be surprised if it was a non Red Bull team, but we know they are impatient historically). He qualifies miles behind Gasly, doesn’t do much better in the races either and also seems to have a bit too much of a hot headed temperament.

    I know it’s his first year and all, but I feel as if he’s been one of the most disappointing rookies in recent years when compared to his team mate. I’m not really confident he’ll improve much next season but would be happy to be proven wrong! I just didn’t expect him to get a second season.

    1. Oh and to add to this, I think that Albon must have behind the scenes been confirmed at Williams, since I think they might have preferred putting Albon back at Alpha Tauri if he wasn’t able to get that seat since he’s probably a better prospect than Tsunoda is. They probably know Albon is on the grid next year so they’re ok with giving Tsunoda a second year at AT.

  11. I like Tsunoda, but I think Red Bull should have replaced him with Albon. The gap between Gasly/Tsunoda is quite large and doesn’t seem to be narrowing and that’s going to harm AlphaTauri in the constructor’s. Tsunoda seems to have good potential but he’s struggling to find his feet, I think he arrived a little too early.

    Gasly’s doing fantastically though and keeping him’s a no-brainer, but if Red Bull don’t promote him back to the main squad in two years he’s got to leave. The problem with that is his options are severely limited.

  12. I feel sorry for Tsunoda who clearly has shown pace in F2 but thrown too early into a team that doesn’t want him but placed there at the direction of Honda management back Japan.
    This is one of the main problems with corporate Japan misreading the cut throat, politicking backstabbing euro/UK bias F1 industry.

    Tsunoda has been a flop because the team clearly don’t want him, the Italian based redbull B team team is too small and incompetent to focus all of their resources on two drivers so imo they put all of their efforts behind overrated fluke racer winner GAS and like Kazuki Nakajima(who brought free Toyota engines to Williams and was paid directly by Toyota) Tsunoda is just used to get free Honda engines and factory support, a major difference being that unlike Nakajima Yuki Tsunoda actually has real raw talent!

    I am not going full conspiracy mode but there is absolutely no reason why he is 1+ second off glorified journeyman GAS if he was driving equal machinery especially after showing blistering raw pace during his amazing 2020 F2 campaign. If Tsunoda raced for a more professional team like RB he would be doing a better job than perez right now.

    Tsunoda needs to step up and plant his authority at alphatauri or leave because its sad to see someone with his raw talent be pushed aside and humiliated like this.

    1. Well it’s an opinion. If Tsunoda has so much raw pace though why is he so slow in qualifying compared to the apparently over-rated Gasly? I think Tsunoda had better put in a more competitive performance next year or his time in F1 is going to be very short.

  13. I can see Tsunoda in a Honda-powered, Red Bull-backed Indycar in ’23. Sato must be coming to the end of his career…

  14. Maybe after this transition year RB will be free to fire TSU and put someone else in the seat. It’s all up to the HONDA-RB ties for 2023. Apparently in 2023 they should be able to produce/maintain their power unit with minimal help from Honda. This is unless TSU finds a silver bullet and starts performing.

  15. Something i’ll say regarding Yuki Tsunoda is that everyone that worked with him in the junior categories & Alpha Tauri rate him very highly & many within the main Red Bull team who have looked at the data also think very highly of his potential.

  16. I really don’t get the pick for Tsunoda. He really would have done a lot better if he matured for an extra year in F2. To be honest so would Verstappen have. It could have cut out some of the odd things he did from 2016 to 2019.

    If Verstappen had had to battle for a championship in F2 he probably would have been better equipped for this season too. Currently the Red Bull car advantage is too big for even Hamilton to overcome, but races like Bahrain, Portimao, Spain and Silverstone really should have been wins for Verstappen too.

  17. I don’t think Albon will get a F1 seat in he future. He is not on the pace of Liam Lawson in the DTM. If he was truly talented, he would be on equal pace with Lawson. Unfortunately he is not even within a bulls roar. He will slowly fade away.

  18. Tsunoda has been pretty disappointing when compared to Albon’s first year in F1. Alpha have stuck with him for 3 reasons, money, he doesn’t interfere with Gasly as their number 1 & the reputation of sticking by a young driver. I personally think Albon would have been a better choice as he showed great promise before the RedBull move, suffering the same fate as Gasly.

    1. Albon and Tsunoda are a waste of resources. Both boys, need to shave and go home and Red Bull needs to pop its head out of its a** and go find some real talent. Try Looking in Indycar there is a lot of unutilized talent in that series, it appears.

  19. Gasly certainly deserves better treatment and ride but needs to see the flashing writing on the wall and look elsewhere. Red Bull is a hot bed of geo-political business decisions rather than a team that looks for talent. Compare Gasly to Albon, not only has Albon not measured up, he is now being placed in a Williams based on Red Bull money because of his Thai nationalism and his family connection with the other 50% Red Bull Thai silent owner. Also,Gasly appears to have gotten onto the bad side of the Red Bull Red Skull of H Marko who must have pictures of the other Red Bull owner (DM) with a goat in bed, as I can’t see any other reason why he would keep such a toxic individual around. Good thing Red Bull wasn’t around when Senna or Prost was around or if they had anything to do with them they would be a non-substantial footnote in time if they had had anything to do with Red (as in the red mist of Marko’s eyes) and Bull ( as in a china shop).

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