Yuki Tsunoda will remain with AlphaTauri for the 2023 season, though he may still have a new teammate when entering his third year in Formula 1.
The Japanese driver progressed rapidly through the junior categories to secure a race seat at AlphaTauri in 2021, ending his rookie season with an impressive fourth place in Abu Dhabi. After three point-scoring finishes in his first five starts this year, Tsunoda has failed to score since the Spanish Grand Prix but AlphaTauri says it has seen enough progression to warrant retaining him for 2023.
“I want to say a huge thank you to Red Bull, Honda and Scuderia AlphaTauri for continuing to give me the opportunity to drive in F1,” Tsunoda 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. 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.”
AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost says all young drivers should get three years if they show potential, and wants Tsunoda to start to deliver on that in the remaining rounds this year.
“As we’ve seen since he joined us last year, Yuki is a very talented driver and has improved a lot this season,” Tost said. “The pace he has shown recently is clear evidence of a steep learning curve, which proves he deserves a seat in F1, and I still expect some strong results from him in the last six races of 2022.
“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. In addition, it’s a testament to Dr. (Helmut) Marko and his driver program that we’re able to bring these young talents up from the junior categories and develop them.
“I’d like to join Yuki in thanking Red Bull and AlphaTauri, as well as Honda, for their continuous support and for allowing him to stay with us for another year.”
While Tsunoda provides stability at AlphaTauri, there’s uncertainty over his teammate. Pierre Gasly was announced as staying earlier this year, but has since been courted by Alpine and a deal is understood to be provisionally agreed for him to leave if Alpine selects him and AlphaTauri lines up a replacement.
That replacement was intended to be Colton Herta but Super License issues have all but ended those hopes, with Nyck de Vries receiving interest after his impressive debut for Williams at Monza.
Gasly — or any reference to the second seat — was not mentioned in the AlphaTauri announcement regarding Tsunoda.