Tsunoda in line for AlphaTauri practice outing

Jon Wilde
Yuki Tsunoda

Shades of Max Verstappen in Yuki Tsunoda says Trevor Carlin.

AlphaTauri are considering running Yuki Tsunoda in a Friday practice session – potentially with a view to a race seat next year.

Tsunoda is being strongly linked with taking over from one of AlphaTauri’s current drivers in 2021, more likely Daniil Kvyat rather than Pierre Gasly, having had his ability talked up by team principal Franz Tost.

Already it has been announced that the Japanese driver, who is currently racing in Formula 2 and a member of the Red Bull development programme, will conduct a 300km test at Imola after next week’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the wheel of a 2018 Toro Rosso.

And now Tost has suggested Tsunoda may also participate in an FP1 session before the end of this campaign in addition to the post-season young driver test in Abu Dhabi.

Motorsport.com report that given the timing, and with Tsunoda’s F2 season concluding over the two weekends in Bahrain, it is logical that an FP1 run could take place in Turkey, although that would deny Gasly or Kvyat an opportunity to gain experience of the track.

Another option is Abu Dhabi, where it would be less costly for the regular race drivers as it is a circuit they know well.

Yuki Tsunoda, Carlin F2

Get your hands on the official AlphaTauri 2020 collection via the Formula 1 store  

Tost insisted nothing had been finalised about who will race for the team in 2021.

“The driver line-up is not decided yet for next year,” he said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.

“The programme with Yuki is the following – we had him at the factory last week to make his seat, because after the race in Imola we will do a 300km test.

“Maybe, but this is not decided yet, he will do an FP1 once. And then he has another two races in Bahrain, and we will see where he is finishing the F2 Championship in regard to the super-licence.

“Then he will do the Abu Dhabi young driver test, and then Red Bull will decide who will be the driver line-up for Scuderia AlphaTauri in 2021.”

In terms of speculation over Kvyat’s future, the Russian has revealed he remains in the dark about what 2021 may hold for him.

“I haven’t, let’s say, got many updates so far about this,” said Kvyat. “All I know is that there are six races remaining this season and I’ll do my best in these six races remaining, and it’s the best thing I can do right now.

“I’m aware of the situation and it’s very easy. And of course there are not so many seats available, but from my side I can only do the best in these races remaining.”

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