Red Bull and Honda junior Yuki Tsunoda will get a test in a previous-spec AlphaTauri car at Imola next month, ahead of a potential FP1 run.
Tsunoda is currently third in the Formula 2 championship standings behind Ferrari youngsters Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott, leaving him well-set to gain an FIA Super License. The Japanese driver is part of both Red Bull and Honda’s programs, and the planned withdrawal of the power unit manufacturer at the end of 2021 is not halting plans for Tsunoda to progress to Formula 1.
To that end, Tsunoda carried out a seat fit at Faenza on Wednesday and will drive a two-year-old car at Imola on November 4. RACER understands there is also the potential for an FP1 appearance in Abu Dhabi, after team principal Franz Tost confirmed Tsunoda will be driving for the team in the post-season test at Yas Marina Circuit.
“Scuderia AlphaTauri currently has two fast drivers with Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat,” Tost said. “We will do the young driver test day with Yuki Tsunoda and this has nothing to do with the decision from Honda that they will not continue after ’21.
“The philosophy at Red Bull is always the performance and if Yuki performs well and he is doing a really good job in Formula 2 — he has won two races this year, at Spa and Silverstone if I remember rightly and in Austria as you remember hopefully, he was leading the race in the wet until a few laps to go and because of radio problems he couldn’t win this race.
“He is doing a really good job and this is decisive, the performance of the driver and this was always the philosophy and this will always stay like it is and then we will see what Red Bull decides regarding their drivers for 2021.”
Honda’s ongoing support for Tsunoda was also emphasized by its F1 managing director Masashi Yamamoto, as the 20-year-old looks increasingly likely to replace Kvyat in 2021.
“Personally, I don’t think our leaving has any impact there,” Yamamoto said. “Red Bull don’t just let anyone drive their cars. I think they will be evaluating him strictly as a Junior driver and also it depends on his Formula 2 results as well. But we’d like to back him up where we can.”