Dec, 16th 2020 – Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda has signed to make his Formula 1 debut with Red Bull’s Alpha Tauri team in 2021.The 20-year-old, who finished third in his maiden Formula 2 season this year, joins Frenchman Pierre Gasly.
Tsunoda is a member of the junior programmes of both Red Bull and their engine partner Honda.
He will be the first Japanese driver to race in F1 ever since Kamui Kobayashi competed in 2014 with Caterham. Tsunoda said, “Like most racing drivers, it has always been my goal to race in Formula 1, so I am very happy with this news. 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.”
He added, “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.”
AlphaTauri Team Principal, Franz Tost says: “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.”