For the first time since 2014, a Japanese driver will be competing in Formula 1. Scuderia AlphaTauri has just announced that Yuki Tsunoda, a member of Honda’s Junior Driver program, will be part of its lineup for the 2021 season in place of Daniil Kvyat.
Tsunoda is coming off his rookie Formula 2 season, wherein he secured three wins and finished on the podium four other times. The 20-year-old is now finishing the 2020 championships at third place overall, and will officially make the jump to F1 come next season.
“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. Helmut 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,” Tsunoda said.
“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,” Tsunoda added. “I realize 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.”
“Red Bull has been following Yuki’s career for a while now and I am sure he will be a great asset to our team,” said Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team principal Franz Tost. “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 1.”
“On behalf of everyone at Honda I wish to congratulate Yuki on making the step up to Formula 1,” said Honda Motor Co., Ltd. president, representative director, and CEO Takahiro Hachigo. “We are proud of what we have achieved together so far and look forward to following him on this next stage to be the fastest driver in the world.”