Tsunoda 'must be considered' for Aston Martin-Honda F1 seat

Honda hopes Yuki Tsunoda will be in the frame for an Aston Martin seat when their F1 engine partnership begins in 2026. 
Tsunoda 'must be considered' for Aston Martin-Honda F1 seat

On Wednesday Honda announced their formal return to F1 from 2026, with Aston Martin striking an agreement to become the Japanese manufacturer’s official works partner once their existing Mercedes engine customer deal expires. 

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Although he admitted it is too soon to talk about drivers for 2026, Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe said he hopes current AlphaTauri driver Tsunoda will be in contention. 

“He is originally from our school and in Formula 1 he is doing very well. We’re very happy to see him succeeding,” Watanabe said.

“But talking about the future, we still have three years to go so it’s too early for us to say what will happen. I don’t think it’s the time to talk about this.

“But we’re hoping that he will become a candidate. But it’s up to the team to make the final decision.”

Tsunoda, who has been backed by Honda since his first foray into car racing and whose AlphaTauri seat is funded by the Japanese manufacturer, is currently in his third season in F1. 

The 23-year-old bounced back from a difficult rookie season in 2021 to enjoy a much-improved campaign last year alongside Pierre Gasly

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri AT04. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Miami Grand Prix, Miami, Florida, USA, Qualifying
Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri AT04. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5,…

Tsunoda has comfortably outperformed new teammate Nyck de Vries across the opening five races of 2023 on his way to scoring AlphaTauri’s only points so far this season. 

“He’s making a great impression this year,” Aston Martin Performance Technologies CEO Martin Whitmarsh acknowledged. 

“He’s very young still, but relatively experienced but I think he’s made great progress. It’s tremendously exciting.

“I’m sure our driver line-up will evolve before 2026. Ultimately Honda and Aston Martin want to have the very best two drivers we can have in the cars. We are here to win, as are Honda, so in 2026 we have to start winning together. We have to have great drivers.

“He must be considered as a candidate. I’m sure he would love to drive a Honda-powered car.

“Let’s see how he makes progress in the next couple of years and hopefully we can have some serious discussions together.”

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