In a shock to absolutely nobody, AlphaTauri has confirmed Yuki Tsunoda will join Pierre Gasly at the Red Bull sister team for the 2021 season.
The 20-year-old Japanese driver has long been in line to replace Daniil Kvyat and that news was finally confirmed on Wednesday morning by the AlphaTauri team.
Tsunoda, a member of the Honda junior driver programme, continued his development in Formula 2 with Carlin during the 2020 campaign and bagged his superlicence with a P3 finish in the standings.
He amassed 200 points in a season which saw him pick up three race wins along the way.
AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost is delighted to welcome Tsunoda to the team and feels he has shown he is ready to make the step up to Formula 1.
Welcoming @yukitsunoda07 to the team! 🤜 🤛 The Japanese Red Bull & Honda junior driver finished 3rd in this year's Formula 2 Championship 💪
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) December 16, 2020
“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,” Tost said upon confirmation of Tsunoda’s arrival.
“Watching him in Formula 2 this year, he has demonstrated the right mix of racing aggression and good technical understanding.
“During the test at Imola in November when he drove our 2018 car, his lap times were very consistent over a race simulation, he progressed throughout the day and gave our engineers useful feedback.
“In addition, his integration with the Honda engineers has been seamless, which certainly helps.
“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.”
Tsunoda, who will be Formula 1’s first Japanese driver since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014 and the first Formula 1 driver to be born in the 2000s, is understandably very grateful for the opportunity.
“Like most racing drivers, it has always been my goal to race in Formula 1, so I am very happy with this news,” Tsunoda said.
“I want to thank Scuderia AlphaTauri, Red Bull and Dr 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.
“I must also thank the teams I have raced with to get to this point, particularly Carlin, with whom I have learned so much this year. I realise 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.”
Tsunoda’s confirmation now means there is just one open space left on the 2021 grid…Alex Albon v Sergio Perez for the Red Bull seat.