The recipient of the 2020 Anthoine Hubert Award will make his official debut in F1 next year.
One of the most intriguing stories in this year’s driver market in Formula 1 is over. AlphaTauri has just announced its second driver for the 2021 season. The best rookie of the 2020 Formula 2 season Yuki Tsunoda will replace Daniil Kvyat and become Pierre Gasly’s teammate in the 2021 Formula 1 season. Tsunoda becomes the first Japanese on the Formula 1 grid since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014 and the first driver born in the 2000s to join the pinnacle of motorsports.
The new Formula 1 driver is very happy and thankful for the opportunity of a lifetime: “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. 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 explains, why Yuki Tsunoda is the best choice for the 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.”
2020 was a breakthrough year for the young Japanese. He drove for Carlin in Formula 2 and that season was incredible. 4 pole positions, 3 race wins, 7 podiums, and 3 fastest laps — 200 points scored and 3rd place in the drivers’ standings as a result. After Yuki Tsunoda’s brilliant performances in Formula 2, he became one of the main contenders for the AlphaTauri seat. Eventually, he got the chance to drive the 2018 challenger in Imola. He also took part in the young drivers test in Abu Dhabi. Now, getting the full-time seat, Yuki Tsunoda has everything he needs to prove that he is a world-class driver, capable of bringing great results on the biggest stage.