AlphaTauri retains Tsunoda for 2023 Formula 1 season

The Japanese driver said late last month that his future depended on « things in the background », but any doubts over his seat with AlphaTauri were lifted on Thursday when the team confirmed he would remain in place for 2023 .

« I want to say a big thank you to Red Bull, Honda and Scuderia AlphaTauri for continuing to give me the opportunity to drive in F1, » Tsunoda said in a statement.

“Having moved to Italy last year, to be closer to the factory, I really feel part of the team and I am happy to be able to continue racing with them in 2023.

“Of course, our 2022 season is not over yet and we continue to push hard in the midfield battle, so I am fully focused on finishing it strong and then we will look to next year. »

Tsunoda hasn’t scored a point since the Spanish Grand Prix last May and AlphaTauri is struggling to compete regularly with mid-table teams.

Team principal Franz Tost said Tsunoda’s recent performances were « clear evidence of a steep learning curve, which proves he deserves a place in F1 », and that a third season would be essential to its development.

« As I always say, a driver needs at least three years to become familiar with Formula 1, so I’m glad he was given the time to show his full potential, » Tost said.

“Furthermore, it’s a testament to Dr. Marko and his driver program that we are able to bring these young talents from the junior categories and develop them.

“I would like to join Yuki in thanking Red Bull and AlphaTauri, as well as Honda, for their continued support and allowing him to stay with us for another year. »

The announcement means AlphaTauri currently has a full line-up for 2023 after revealing last June that Pierre Gasly would stay at Faenza.

But with Gasly attracting interest from Alpine as a replacement for Fernando Alonso, Red Bull is known to be exploring options for the second seat at AlphaTauri next year.

Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko met 2019 Formula 2 champion Nyck de Vries in Austria last week to discuss a possible driver for 2023, after he backed out of signing IndyCar race winner Colton Herta, because he couldn’t get a superlicense.

Red Bull has made it clear that it will only leave Gasly at Alpine if another driver is in place to take Tsunoda’s place.

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