Tsunoda had chance to race but chose F1 test

Jamie Woodhouse


Head of the Red Bull driver programme Helmut Marko told Yuki Tsunoda to reject a Euroformula Open offer and focus on his F1 test.

The Japanese racer, currently P3 in the F2 Championship, recently completed a test with the AlphaTauri team where he is in the running to land a race seat for 2021 at the expense of Daniil Kvyat.

But with Formula 2 having not been in action since September, Tsunoda was offered a chance by his Carlin team to make a one-off appearance at a Euroformula Open round at Spa last month.

But the order came from Marko to turn it down and focus fully on the test.

“I got invited by Carlin for Euroformula Open, they wanted me to drive in Euroformula Open, a race in Spa,” Tsunoda is quoted by Motorsport.com.

“I asked Helmut, and he said no, you just have to focus on Formula 1, nothing otherwise, just focus on Formula 1, to reach the 300km today, nothing like this.”

However, the last major stumbling block for Tsunoda and his AlphaTauri ambitions are a superlicence.

This is his first season in Formula 2, and in order to collect enough points for a superlicence he must finish the Championship in the top five.

He is P3 at the moment, but only seven points ahead of Nikita Mazepin in P6 with four races remaining of the season.

But he says the pressure he feels now is no different to what he felt before the season started.

“It doesn’t make much difference, even now,” he explained.

“I already prepared for that mentality from January, so I don’t feel much, I didn’t even feel much stress about that.

“I have to focus for free practice in Formula 2, the first corner and first braking zone, what I have to do. I’ve got to focus session by session and lap by lap.”

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

If Tsunoda wasn’t able to gain his superlicence then the second seat at AlphaTauri would most likely be retained by Kvyat or filled by Alex Albon if Red Bull decide to relieve him of his duties alongside Max Verstappen.

But should Tsunoda earn his superlicence, then it could be curtains for both Kvyat and Albon in Formula 1.

The penultimate round of the F2 season takes place in Bahrain from November 28-29 with the series remaining at the Bahrain International Circuit for the final round of races from December 5-6.

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