Tsunoda wants to be the first Japanese race winner

Date published: February 22 2021

Yuki Tsunoda

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda hopes to one day become the first Japanese driver to win a Formula 1 grand prix.

Tsunoda only arrived on the European scene a few years ago but his rise through the junior categories has been extremely impressive.

After taking the 2018 F4 Japanese Championship title, Tsunoda switched to Europe and achieved a race win in his first Formula 3 campaign.

But his stock really began to rise in 2020 in the Formula 2 Championship, where he grew into a title contender, finishing the season P3 in the standings with three race wins.

That prompted AlphaTauri to give the Honda-backed racer his big break in Formula 1 and now he is here, the ambition is to one day become the first Japanese race winner.

To date, Takuma Sato and Kamui Kobayashi are the highest-finishing Japanese drivers in Formula 1, both with a single P3 finish to their name.

“I just want to beat the other drivers and I also want to be the first Japanese driver to win a race in Formula 1,” said Tsunoda at the launch of AlphaTauri’s AT02, the car Tsunoda will contest his debut Formula 1 season in.

Yuki Tsunoda

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Understandably, Tsunoda is looking forward to competing at Suzuka, his home race, but also has his sights set on another iconic stop on the Formula 1 calendar.

“I’m really excited to get started and I am particularly looking forward to racing in Suzuka, in front of the Japanese fans,” he explained.

“The last time I raced in Suzuka was in Formula 4, so it will be a big difference, but I’m really excited to now get the opportunity to represent my country in F1.

“I am also looking forward to visiting many new countries and racing on different tracks. If I had to pick one of the circuits I’m most looking forward to, apart from Japan, it would be Monaco – there is so much history there and it’s a very challenging circuit.

“The biggest thing for me though will be lining up on the grid with so many superstars of the sport – it’s an absolute honour to be competing against some of the greatest drivers in the world.”

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