Yuki Tsunoda, 20, to Become Formula One’s First Japanese Driver in 7 Years

Yuki Tsunoda

Italian Formula One racing team AlphaTauri has announced that Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda will be making his Formula 1 debut in 2021.

 

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Fast-tracked to F1: Tsunoda was reportedly tapped to replace Daniil Kvyat next season, making him Formula One’s first Japanese driver since 2014, following Kamui Kobayashi, reports Japan Times.

  • The 20-year-old driver has just completed a remarkable Formula 2 season as a rookie.
  • He finished third in this year’s Formula Two Championship, landing seven podium finishes, including victories in two feature races and a sprint race.
  • In 2018, when the driver was still exclusively racing in Japan, he won the F4 Japanese Championship.
  • He made his racing debut in Europe in 2019, finishing 9th overall with three podiums and a win in the European FIA Formula 3 Championship.
  • Tsunoda will be partnered with 24-year-old French driver Pierre Gasly, who won the 2020 Italian Grand Prix at Monza back in September.


Ready for the big leagues: AlphaTauri principal Franz Tost revealed that they have been watching Tsunoda’s career and observed that the driver has “demonstrated the right mix of racing aggression and good technical understanding.” 

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  • “During the test in 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,” he was quoted as saying. 
  • Tsunoda also earned praises from his F2 team boss Trevor Carlin, who called him the best Japanese prospect since double Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato.
  • In a statement, Tsunoda expressed happiness about the development, saying that racing in F1 had always been his goal.
  • “I realize that 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,” he said.

Feature Image via Scuderia AlphaTauri

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