For the first time since 2014, a Japanese rider will compete in Formula 1 again next year. Renstal AlphaTauri confirmed the arrival of Yuki Tsunoda on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old driver came third in the Formula 2 championship this year and was already seen by team principal Franz Tost of the sister team of Red Bull as the dream candidate to succeed the Russian Danill Kviat. Tsunoda will be the teammate of 24-year-old Frenchman Pierre Gasly.
Tsunoda met the requirements to make the transition to the highest motorsport class. He first drove more than 300 kilometres in a Formula 1 car on the Imola circuit. After that, he had to finish among the best four in the Formula 2 championship, the talent class.
With his third victory of the season in the GP of Sakhir, he already secured a top 4 ranking on December 5, thus obtaining a so-called super license. On Tuesday he came on the track in Abu Dhabi in the so-called Young Driver Test.
“Red Bull has been following Yuki’s development as a driver for some time now, and I am sure he will be an asset to our team,” said team principal Tost, who also saw confirmation at the test runs in Abu Dhabi. “He is ready for the switch to Formula 1.”
AlphaTauri came seventh in the constructors’ standings last year and, with Gasly, achieved a surprise victory in the Italian Grand Prix.