Scuderia AlphaTauri announced Thursday that Yuki Tsunoda remains with the Faenza-based team for a third consecutive season.
Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda, who made his debut at the pinnacle of motorsport in 2021 with AlphaTauri, becoming the youngest driver on the Formula 1 grid, has been retained by the Italian outfit for another year.
The 22-year-old driver commented on his contract extension, saying: “I want to say a huge thank you to Red Bull, Honda, and Scuderia AlphaTauri for continuing to give me the opportunity to drive in F1.
“Having moved to Italy last year to be closer to the factory, I really feel part of the team and am glad I get to carry on racing with them in 2023. Of course, our 2022 season isn’t over yet, and we’re still pushing hard in the midfield battle, so I’m fully focused on finishing it on a high, and then we will look forward to next year.”
After finishing third in his debut season at the FIA Formula 2 Championship, just 15 points behind the 2020 champion, Mick Schumacher, Tsunoda graduated to Formula 1, joining AlphaTauri Honda in 2021, partnering with Frenchman Pierre Gasly.
In his rookie season, he added 32 of the 142 points the team won in 2021 to finish the constructor’s championship in sixth place.
The first Japanese driver to compete in Formula 1 since Kamui Kobayashi last raced in 2014 wrapped up his inaugural season in the series in style, scoring a fourth-place finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, ahead of teammate Gasly, his best result to date.
AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost spoke about the driver’s new deal, outlining: “As we’ve seen since he joined us last year, Yuki is a very talented driver and has improved a lot this season.
“The pace he has shown recently is clear evidence of a steep learning curve, which proves he deserves a seat in F1, and I still expect some strong results from him in the last six races of 2022. As I always say, a driver needs at least three years, to fully get to grips with Formula 1. I’m pleased he’s been given the time to show his full potential.”
“In addition, it’s a testament to Dr. Marko and his driver program that we’re able to bring these young talents up from the junior categories and develop them. I’d like to join Yuki in thanking Red Bull, AlphaTauri, as well as Honda for their continuous support and for allowing him to stay with us for another year.”
Following the introduction of the new technical regulations by the FIA, 2022 has proven to be a challenging year for the squad, lacking pace with the AT03, reflecting in the team’s results.
With six races to the season-ending, the team sits in eighth place in the constructor’s championship, summing up 33 points.
It is yet unknown whether Gasly will continue to partner with Tsunoda next season.