Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

AlphaTauri confirm Tsunoda and Ricciardo for 2024 season

Formula 1

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AlphaTauri have confirmed Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo will remain their drivers for the 2024 Formula 1 season.

The announcement was made ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Tsunoda’s home race. Ricciardo remains absent due to the injury he sustained at Zandvoort last month.

AlphaTauri serves as a junior team for Red Bull, with drivers debuting there before graduating to the senior squad. Tsunoda will become the first driver to spend more than three seasons at AlphaTauri without a Red Bull promotion.

Ricciardo returned to the team, which he previously raced for when it was known as Toro Rosso, as a replacement for Nyck de Vries who was dropped by the team just 10 races after joining them. Liam Lawson is currently driving for the team as Ricciardo’s substitute.

Franz Tost, AlphaTauri’s team principal who is due to step down at the end of the year, said that as the technical regulations remain unchanged next year “it was therefore logical to go for continuity in our driver line-up too.”

“I am very pleased with the development that Yuki has shown over the last two and a half years with our team and with Daniel’s great race-winning experience we will have one of the most competitive driver pairings on the grid in 2024.”

Lawson has impressed the team in his three-race stint since joining them, having scored their best result of the season with ninth place in Singapore last week. “He will definitely help the team in his development role as a third driver, and I’m sure he will have a future in Formula 1 soon,” Tost added.

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Tsunoda has started 56 grands prix since making his debut at the start of the 2021 season and has a best finish of fourth which he claimed at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix during his rookie season. Seventh place at the Azerbaijan and Austrian grands prix that year mark his highest ever grid positions.

Having scored 32 points and come 14th in the standings in 2021, Tsunoda slipped down to 17th last year and scored 12 points. This season has been an even more challenging one for AlphaTauri, and Tsunoda has three points to his name with seven rounds to go.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to fight and collaborate with the team and Daniel,” said Tsunoda. “Obviously, I’ll push as much as possible for the rest of the season and beyond, to progress as a driver. I’m grateful for Red Bull and Honda for continuing to support and believe in me, and very happy and thankful to continue the partnership.”

Ricciardo, who returned to Red Bull’s junior team after being released from his McLaren contract a year early last season, is eager to get back to racing.

“We are building and it is a great feeling,” he said. “There is a lot of work to do, but we are heading in the right direction and there is a lot to look forward to. Bring on 2024.”

AlphaTauri’s announcements means 19 drivers on the grid know they will be racing for the same team again next year. Only Logan Sargeant’s place at Williams remains in doubt.

View the current list of 2024 F1 drivers and teams

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Author information

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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24 comments on “AlphaTauri confirm Tsunoda and Ricciardo for 2024 season”

  1. Unsurprising in the end but unfortunate for Lawson, although not getting a full-time drive at least can’t mean not racing in F1 to any extent anymore.
    Still, TSU-LAW should’ve been a no-brainer, as the former already has decent experience in F1.

    1. Yes, I find this decision strange, 1 race weekend is nowhere near enough to say ricciardo still has it, and tsunoda seems an uninspired choice, disappointing, really.

    2. LL has impressed, but Yuki has generally been faster so far, but his car dying in Italy and getting impeded during quali + taken out by Perez in the first lap means we’ve gotten no real benchmark until Japan where Yuki was three tenths faster. And Liam’s Singapore GP and all the attention it’s brought was down in large part to luck. Getting into the points required 1) Russell crashing 2) Ocon’s car dying 3) FA suspension issue 4) Yuki being blocked in quali and taken out on lap 1 by Perez 5) Perez punting Albon off the track when Albon had pulled onto Lawson’s tail after gaining 3 seconds a lap on Lawson and was inevitably going to pass him. So, that means he’s realistically finishing 12th or 13th without unusual attrition and incidents.

      I give him big credit for putting himself in a position to inherent all those positions though. I think he should replace Logan at Williams. They need a consistent second driver.

      IMO, people shouldn’t be questioning whether DR deserves a spot when he’s achieved so much and has so much more potential than mostly known quantities like Bottas, Magnussen, Stroll, Logan, Zhou and Perez still on the grid for next season (well, Logan is TBD). It’s those who should be questioned instead of a Lawson.

      It took Lawson a long time to get a shot though because he was so mediocre in F2. A fact I think most people aren’t aware of. They seem to assume if he’s RBR’s main prospect he must have been a standout there. But the guy only had a single win in a very average field of F2 drivers.

      1. But f1 results are what matter in the end, if you follow the junior career to the letter, then hulkenberg would be a top driver, but he’s only average.

        I know ricciardo was competitive, my question is, are we sure he still is? We only saw a race in alpha tauri, seems premature.

    3. Number 7 – Lucky seven

  2. I think they have underestimated how popular Liam is. Biased persepctive here but he seems very popular with fans and that’s the sort of thing sponsors jump on. That said, these deals could have been done before Liam was in the picture. Makes sense to hold off for the Japanese GP with Yuki and Honda for AT even if deals were done over summer.

  3. Would be nice if someone at HRC could give Tsunoda ‘mentoring’ about how he portrays himself on the radio. Lawson and Riciardo have a much better attitude/speed then him, and Tsunoda is being led astray from habits that would help improve as a person/driver.

  4. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    23rd September 2023, 6:38

    Why is Tsunoda getting another opportunity? He’s had 3 years to improve and is being beaten by a driver who has had a handful of races. The drive market is so stale. I hope Alpha Tauri gets sold soon.

    1. @come-on-kubica It’s hard not to get beat by your team mate when your car fails before the start in one race & you then get taken out on lap 1 in the next.

      And the only time Liam has been faster than Yuki in qualifying is in Singapore where Yuki wasn’t able to set a time due to having to back out of his fastest lap due to been held up by Verstappen.

      1. It’s hard not to get beat by your team mate when your car fails before the start in one race & you then get taken out on lap 1 in the next.

        If your local measuring stick is gone, measure against more distant ones (other teams) – and Lawson has done well there so far.
        It strikes me that the decision was already made, before Lawson even sat in the car.

    2. He’s Honda’s pay driver, what’s so difficult to understand? Only in F1 because of his nationality, not talent and skills.

      1. Have to agree with this, I’m sure he’s as good as some other f1 drivers, like stroll, probably better, but there’s plenty of drivers with higher potential who don’t get a f1 seat.

  5. I don’t understand any of this.

    I can’t understand why Tsunoda deserves another season. The alarm bells rang for me early in the season when Tost called his engineers ‘liars’ concerning the car performance expectation versus reality. De Vries compounded that issue but the car has looked decent since Nyck was dropped, make of that what you will. I think Yuki has had enough chances without ever blowing me away and 3 seasons is a fair return for his talent – he’s not going to Red Bull, and Honda are going to Aston so what is this next season meant to prove?

    I also don’t understand where Lawson goes now. He’s done F2 and Super Formula. Is he going to have a year out? If so who would he replace? Surely it would be Tsunoda.

    If Ricciardo performs well next season and gets the 25 Red Bull drive will Lawson be promoted to race against Tsunoda again? That seems a delayed reaction and if Ricciardo is good enough to be promoted surely Tsunoda would be dropped.

    The only thing I can think of here is that Yuki signed this contract in the summer and are announcing it at his home race. It’s given Lawson some false hope that there was a chance to get the drive for next year but that’s racing.

    In any event, it’s a strange decision to alienate their best junior when they don’t exactly have a huge talent stream coming down the line. That said, Marko has discovered more F1 talent than I have.

    1. Money talks.

      Specifically: Japan (Tsunoda) and Australia (Ricciardo) are bigger markets than New Zealand (Lawson). Lawson most likely has less sponsorship also. Is my guess.

      I hope Lawson keeps a cool head and gets a good result. He has nothing to lose, he’s done three really good races and this would be the perfect place to show off.

      However, it would not surprise me one bit if Lawson got some “inexplicable mechanical issues” and was forced to retire – especially if he’s running 6th or 7th and seems to be heading for a better than expected result once again. That’s how cynical I am about F1 these days.

      1. I’m certainly not that cynical. Besides if AT were in sixth they’d get 8 points moving them to 8th in the championship and a $6m prize money gain. They’d then be just 8 off Williams for another $3m. They can’t afford to self sabotage to save face. I can’t think of another example of a team ever retiring a healthy car from a points position to justify a driver line up change.

        1. And I absolutely hope you’re right.

  6. There you go in halfway into Q1 and an opportunity for a loan to Williams is created.

    1. Indeed. Albon + Lawson would be a very strong pairing.
      Williams could leave the Tauris, Haas, & Alfas decisively behind and probably be on par with the Alpines.

  7. Red Bull’s junior programme has seemingly well and truly dried up.

    It’s high time to stop Red Bull running four cars.

  8. I wonder why there is such a big discrepancy between what fans and experts think about Tsunoda.

    I think it is in a large part due to the fact that a lot of fans can’t really judge if a driver is good or not. They just look at the points. If you are in the worst car, which the Alpha Tauri was for the first half of the season, points are hard to come by. A driver can have an excellent, inspired race to 11th and it won’t even register with a lot of fans, they only see the driver didn’t even make it into the points.

    Absurdly, I think by the end of the season these fans will agree that Alpha Tauri made the right decision in keeping Tsunoda, even if Tsunoda delivers the same level of performance as he did in the first half of the season. Simply because the car is better and points are more readily achievable.

    1. Tsunoda has been nowhere close to Gasly for years. That he’s now competitive with two rookies and a dumped driver is not that great.

      The second Red Bull sticks a rebadged Ford in their cars Tsunoda will be out.

  9. I think that if Alpha Tauri did indeed have to keep Tsunoda due to Honda, then they should’ve dropped Ricciardo. He’s mid -30s now, and not near the start of his F1 career. I know many believe that he was only bad in the McLaren due to its characteristics, but Norris always out drove him, and by comparison, Piastri (a rookie no less) is much closer to Norris than Ricciardo ever was.

    Lawson on the other hand, is an F1 rookie, and should be the natural choice.

  10. As per what others have said, I agrees that Tsunoda has been renewed due to his Honda relationship. In regards to Ricciardo, I think he was chosen over Lawson for a number of reasons. Firstly as per comments by the team and others, he brings development experience which is required to improve the Alpha Tauri which Lawson hasn’t had (I’m not sure what development experience Tsunoda brings). And secondly, from Red Bull’s perspective I think they they see Ricciardo as a safe pair or hands, who works well with the team, can drive the Red Bull fast (as per the tyre test at the beginning of the year), and by keeping him race fit in the Alpha Tauri, he keeps pressure on Perez.

    I think Red Bull want to keep thier options open, should they need/decide to replace Perez either during the next year or possibly the year after when Perez’s contract is up, and Ricciardo is thier plan B. Lawson would then step into the Alpha Tauri.

    I am suprised Ricciardo was announced this weekend, as I thought they would have waited till after he is back from injury and shown what he is capable of after racing the remainder of the season. If Ricciardo doesn’t perform in the Alpha Tauri, then I suspect he’ll be replaced by Lawson, and Red Bull will look at other drivers should they need to replace Perez in the Red Bull.

  11. So, you see. This team found a great potential in Lawson by accident, but re-sign a driver that had 3 seasons to get something done and didn’t.

    A team that couldn’t be less bothered by the lack of results, because money was never an issue.

    It’s the Lance Stroll of constructors. I think racing 18 cars would be better than to have a extra team like this, existing for the sole purpose of supporting the interests of the main team. Be it blocking other cars, wasting entire seasons testing parts for them, or filling requirements like giving someone a seat.

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