Tsunoda ‘part of the family’ ahead of F1 run

Michelle Foster
Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda will put in his first laps in a Formula 1 car next month as AlphaTauri evaluate the driver ahead of a possible F1 promotion.

Backed by Honda, it had been reported that 20-year-old Tsunoda was the next in line for a Red Bull promotion to its junior team.

However, Honda’s withdrawal from Formula 1, announced earlier this month, complicated the matter. Or so it seemed from the outside.

AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost insists that’s not the case.

“The Red Bull philosophy is not to bring a driver to AlphaTauri because of political reasons,” Tost told F1TV.

“No, a driver comes to AlphaTauri because of his sporting success. It has nothing to do whether Honda continues or not.

“Yuki Tsunoda is doing a fantastic job in F2, he won two races – one in Spa, one in Silverstone and in Austria in wet conditions he was leading for a long time and because of radio problem, he finished only second.

“He has the natural speed, he has the skills and the rest, we will see.”

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Red Bull and AlphaTauri are pushing on with the youngster’s learning with Tsunodo scheduled to test a 2018-spec car at Imola after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on November 4.

The Formula 2 driver, who had a seat fitted at the team’s factory on Wednesday, is hoping to cover the 300km that would qualify him to take part in a FP1 session later in the season.

“My main priority is to do those 300 kilometres,” he said on Wednesday during his seat fitting.

“I don’t want to crash or go off the track because the more mileage I do, the more I can understand the car, so I will take it easy.

“But I am confident that I can do it and I will drive the way I normally do. I will focus on my job while enjoying my first day in a Formula 1 car.

“I am sure I will be very excited when I’m sitting in the car waiting for the green light at the end of the pit lane.”

Tsunoda, is third in the Formula 2 championship with two wins on the board, with P3 guaranteeing enough ‘super licence’ points to race in Formula 1 next season.

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