AlphaTauri have retained Yuki Tsunoda for 2023 F1 season.
Tsunoda joined the team in 2021 after enjoying a successful third-placed finish in 2020 Formula 2 season, during which he took four pole positions and three wins in the feeder series which earned him a quick promotion to F1 with AlphaTauri.
The Japanese driver eventually finished 14th in his rookie F1 campaign with a best finish of fourth at the controversial season-ending Abu Dhabi GP, in a campaign where he claimed seven top-ten finishes in 22 races.
A revamp of technical rules for this season though has seen Tsunoda struggle to find his best form, as he sits 16th with just 11 points from 16 races, with a season-best finish of seventh in Imola from three points-finishes.
AlphaTauri nevertheless has decided to retain Tsunoda alongside Pierre Gasly for a third consecutive season in 2023, with the 22 year-old issuing “a huge thank you” to the team for their continued belief in him alongside Red Bull’s support for 2023.
Last season saw Tsunoda make lifestyle changes as he moved to Italy in order to become more involved with the team, which he is proud to have done as he said: “Having moved to Italy last year, to be closer to the factory, I really feel part of the team and am glad that I get to carry on racing with them in 2023.”
Tsunoda though is now focused on finishing the season on a positive note in the final six races, which will see him make his home race debut at Suzuka, Japan across weekend of 7-9 October 2022.
Acknowleding that his current campaign isn’t over as AlphaTauri continues to fight in midfield, Tsunoda commented: “Of course, our 2022 season isn’t over yet and we’re still pushing hard in the midfield battle, so I’m fully focused on finishing it on a high and then we will look forward to next year.”
Team Principal, Franz Tost meanwhile described Tsunoda as “a very talented driver” who has progressed this season, especially in terms of pace despite race results suggesting otherwise
Tost therefore has urged caution in judging their decision to retain Tsunoda as he explained: “As I always say, a driver needs at least three years to fully get to grips with Formula 1, so I’m pleased he’s been given the time to show his full potential.”
Tsunoda is also part of Red Bull’s driver programme and Tost believes that it is “testatement” to the programme that Tsunoda like others before him has graduated through the junior series with the tools for AlphaTauri to help develop them further once in F1.