Tsunoda confirmed for a third season at AlphaTauri in 2023

2023 F1 season

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Yuki Tsunoda will remain at AlphaTauri for a third season in Formula 1 next year, the team has confirmed.

The Red Bull and Honda junior made his world championship debut with the team last year after an impressive rookie Formula 2 campaign in 2020 in which he finished third with three race wins and four pole positions.

His maiden F1 season started on a high by finishing ninth in the Bahrain Grand Prix on his debut, but a crash in the next event at Imola knocked his confidence and he went four races without scoring again.

He would pick up points on seven occasions through the 2021 season, ending his year with a record-matching fourth place in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the best result for a rookie Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri driver.

Tsunoda’s sophomore campaign began with three points finishes in the first six grands prix, but his and the team’s form has dipped since. He currently sits 16th in the championship standings with 11 points.

“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,” said Tsunoda.

“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.”

The identity of Tsunoda’s team mate was not mentioned in AlphaTauri’s announcement of his 2023 deal. Pierre Gasly is contracted to the outfit for next season, but rumours suggest he may be released early to allow him to replace Fernando Alonso at Alpine.

“As we’ve seen since he joined us last year, Yuki is a very talented driver and has improved a lot this season,” AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost said.

“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 F1, so I’m pleased he’s been given the time to show his full potential.”

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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34 comments on “Tsunoda confirmed for a third season at AlphaTauri in 2023”

  1. Finally & formal confirmation took surprisingly long, considering how effectively given his continuation was for a while.

  2. He’s been quite underwhelming to be honest.. but he’s the only benchmark they have for the driver that will fill that 2nd seat.

    1. Alpha Tauri as a whole have been underwhelming this season. While Tsunoda hasn’t delivered any special results this season, it’s mostly due to the car. The Alpha Tauri is a backmarker car, barely quicker than the Williams and the Aston Martin, so it’s no surpise Gasly and Tsunoda have been struggling to score points for most part of the season.
      Also most of Tsunoda’s points deficit to Gasly is down to their results at Baku, where Gasly scored 10 points (almost half of what he scored in all of the other races combined) and Tsunoda lost 8 points due to bad luck.
      I’d say Yuki’s performances have improved over last season, but they certainly aren’t what RB expected from him after a very promising debut season in F2.

      Reply moderated
  3. This is a bit disappointing considering Yuki’s performance and the talent available in RB’s young driver programme.

      1. @macleod RB doesn’t choose their drivers for external factors like some teams have done.

        1. @jerejj – So why are they keeping him then? Because he is awesome and will parnter Max soon? No he is a Honda Protege and RB doesn’t want to burn their roads even when they are not using them at the moment because maybe in the future Red Bull can use them.

          1. @macleod
            He’s improved over time & senior team promotion is possible, something which only time will tell.

        2. @jerejj Speed, Alguersuari, Kvyat, Tsunoda, Perez, Sainz jnr, Klien.

          1. @peartree What do you mean? All got promoted to F1 on merit. Pay drivers & such aren’t RB’s thing.

          2. @jerejj the poster you are referring to does seem to be using that as a justification to rather aggressively bash some drivers – but, on the other hand, financial sponsorship does seem to have played some part in the careers of some of those drivers.

            In the case of Sainz Jr, the Spanish oil company Cepsa does seem to have been fairly influential in brokering the agreement with Toro Rosso that resulted in Sainz Jr joining that team. Sainz Jr himself did make a comment about ‘maybe needing more than just results’ during the negotiations with Toro Rosso in 2014, implying that sponsorship from Cepsa was also important (and Cepsa did become a major sponsor of Toro Rosso in 2015).

            Now, clearly there is a substantial difference between yourself and the original poster on where exactly Sainz Jr might sit on that continuum, with the original poster taking a rather extreme position on that point, but the financial backing Sainz Jr received from Cepsa does seem to have had at least some influence in the negotiations that led to him being promoted to Toro Rosso.

          3. @jerejj jeez, anon loves me, he called me poster, I’m all warm and fuzzy. I’m just being rational, on results alone, all these drivers did not merit the time they got when you give rb the praise jerejj gives.
            Speed was immediately off the team, Alguersuari over stayed, kvyat showed little, he showed he was quick to get to a reasonable level but somehow kept around, Tsunoda was not a shining example of f2 material but rather more of a japanese hype star. Perez was signed by McLarrn in the hope the second richest man in the world would dump a load of cadh on the team, that didn’t happen and ron dennis dumped him, RB picked him because they must have thought he was quicker than max… Klien is Austrian. Finally my personal favourite, Sainz jnr, he won an overhyped championship in wsr 3.5 which faith would tell never got to f1 any top driver, heavily hyped for the Sainz connection and trying to emulate the Alonso boom and commercial hype. Sticking to Sainz jnr after seeing him obliterated by his team mate was fine at first but then RB just had him stick around and used his marketing to get out of their Renault deal, some fool took the deal and has regretted it since. Sainz jnr was obliterated again, this time by Hulkenberg, a rebuilding mclaren, 8th 9th fastest team saw some pesos and decided to sign him, Norris a rookie matched jnr and eventually started to beat and ultimately obliterate him, a rebuilding giant in ferrari then saw an opportunity to cash in on the sainz hype, trying to get another Alonso. Santander is back onboard and so is estrella galicia and others also sainz snr is an Agnelli family friend and fiat wants to sell cars in spain and ferraris to the very rich, there you go sainz jnr is at ferrari.

  4. I’m guessing this has as much to do with Honda cooperation as it does with Yuki’s performances and ability. Still, he does seem to be improving and with limited testing, it maybe that there’s more potential to unlock yet.

  5. Gasly must be leaving for sure – Torro Rosso being probably one of the most ruthless seats in F1; even if they had any doubt about Yuki, they probably couldn’t take a chance at changing both drivers at the same time to effect stability of the team too much.

    1. @Alberto Not necessarily. His continuation was effectively guaranteed with or without Gasly.

      1. Not so sure if they have given De Vries or Herta a drive and Gasly wanted to see his contract through….

    2. My thoughts exactly, but let’s see what eventually happens with Gasly.

  6. I suspect next year is make or break for him. He’ll have to really raise his level next season to keep that seat. He’s been saved a bit by the fact that so many of the Red Bull Juniors in F2 have had ordinary seasons this year.

  7. Rather underwhelmed so far by Yuki. Must be some financial ties keeping him in the seat.

    1. @Mayrton Nothing such in the RB camp.

  8. He is probably the new Kvyat.

    Toro Rosso know he is not good enough but can’t let go of him fully.

  9. Waste of a seat imo but they’re paying the bills so they can decide who to fill it with. Personally I can’t see any huge improvement in performance over the last 2 years so any future improvements are only going to turn him from a very average driver to at best a slightly above average driver. Doesn’t seem worth the time investment when there are bigger talents waiting in the wings. He’s had a car capable of delivering some results too so not like he’s had 2 years in the worst car on the grid, he’s had his chance.

    I do think this suggests they’re concerned they’re losing Gasly for next year though and are looking for some continuity.

  10. Why? Give someone better a go, it’s obvious he isn’t up to it

  11. Gasp, shock, horror. AT has to at least sign one good driver for next season and get some front grip on that car.

  12. “at least three years to fully get to grips with F1”?
    That’s about 70 races!
    Compare with what Nyck de Vries did in his very first Grand Prix, after just two practice sessions (one in the wrong car)…

    1. It sounds more like an ultimatum than anything else. But perhaps that’s a negative view of it.

      Definitely agree that needing more than 70 races to ‘show potential’ is a bit of a curious take.

      Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso all won their first title within 70 races. And with the shorter seasons of the 1990s, Michael Schumacher was already a double world champion by that same number of races.

      Something is keeping Tsunoda in that seat, and it’s not just Red Bull’s belief in his potential. It’s probably a mix of Gasly leaving, keeping Honda happy until their supplier deal runs its course, and a lack of alternatives with sufficient superlicense points.

      1. How biased is your statement. Shorter calendars, unlimited testing, much more competitive cars all contributed to Hamilton, Alonso and schumachers stats. Just a rubbish racist comment

  13. He is the Katsuta of F1

    1. @qeki
      I know who Katsuta is (Takamoto Katsuta, the rally driver in WRC), but I don’t get your reference.
      Do you mean like someone who stays on regardless of performance or results to an extent, as this is the only aspect I could think of when comparing them in their respective series?

      1. @jerejj I was thinking more like how well Katsuta and Toyota go together (but it seems this could be his last season) and how well Tsunoda and Honda go together. They all are from Japan and it helps a lot on the contract side if they are looking for someone else.
        They are not the fastest drivers out there but good enough (and gathered experience) to stay on the top level of their sport.

  14. Yuki-San We love you. GO YUKI GO ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply moderated

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