Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda

The latest Red Bull young driver to make it to Formula 1, Yuki Tsunoda has rapidly risen through the junior categories to earn his spot at AlphaTauri.

Early career in Japan

Beginning his career in karting in 2010, Tsunoda raced in the JAF Junior Karting Championship and by 2014 had made it to the national class. His rapid ascension earned him a Japanese Formula 4 drive for two races in 2016. He earned his first podium in his maiden race in the series and followed it up with fourth. It was in 2016 when Tsunoda was signed to the Honda Formula Dream Project, the company’s driver development programme.

He followed that up by taking the 2017 Japanese F4 East title and finishing third in the national series before claiming the national title in 2018 with seven wins and 11 podium finishes.

Arrival in Europe

Tsunoda moved across to the Euro Formula 3 championship as well as the Euroformula Open series with backing from Red Bull.

He scored two race victories and nine podiums across both series’ in 2019, and was announced as a Carlin F2 driver for the 2020 season.

In Formula 2, Tsunoda put together one of his finest seasons to date to earn three race victories, seven podiums and four pole positions and finished third in the standings in his debut season.

Graduation to F1 with AlphaTauri

Alongside his 2019 F2 duties, Tsunoda also tested for the AlphaTauri F1 team on two occasions, fuelling speculation that he was to be promoted into the junior team the following year.

The 20-year-old was announced as an AlphaTauri driver after the end of the 2020 season, replacing Daniil Kvyat at the team alongside Pierre Gasly.

Tsunoda’s maiden F1 season was difficult as the Japanese driver struggled to adapt to the series. His season kicked off with an impressive points finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix but quickly fell apart, crashing in several practice and qualifying sessions, only returning to the points in round six in Azerbaijan. Team principal Franz Tost moved him to Italy and closer to the team’s Faenza factory to keep closer tabs on Tsunoda and improve his focus. Just five points finishes followed for the remainder of the season.

From the archive

In 2022, Tsunoda improved, despite being hampered by the performance of his AlphaTauri. Failure to adapt to new technical regulations put his team on the back foot to start the season, but despite his lack of experience, Tsunoda showed a heightened level of maturity in 2022.

His biggest points haul came at Imola, where the Japanese secured seventh ahead of teammate Gasly and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. Poor reliability and misfortune kept Tsunoda from scoring additional points, ending the season in 17th in the drivers’ standings’.

Following Gasly’s departure to Alpine for 2023, Tsunoda will join forces with former Formula E champion and Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries in a new era for AlphaTauri.

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