Yuki Tsunoda has been named as AlphaTauri’s selection for the upcoming Abu Dhabi F1 test ahead of what is expected to be a full-time move into the seat for the 2021 F1 season.

The Japanese driver has been linked with Red Bull-affiliated seat for several weeks on the strength of his ties to engine suppliers Honda, but a move would be dependent on whether he could secure enough superlicence points to make him eligible.

However, a timely third Formula 2 win of the season in the Bahrain finale this weekend confirmed Tsunoda as third in the overall standings, paving the way for him to replace Daniil Kvyat and join Pierre Gasly in the Italian outfit.

The 2021 F1 Driver Line-up (so far...)

 

 

In the meantime, AlphaTauri has unsurprisingly opted for the youngster for the Abu Dhabi test dedicated to drivers with limited F1 seat time experience (with exception to Fernando Alonso, who has special dispensation to drive with Renault/Alpine).

It will be Tsunoda’s first opportunity to sample current F1 machinery having conducted previous tests in a 2018-spec AlphaTauri (Scuderia Toro Rosso). 

I am really looking forward to testing with Scuderia AlphaTauri. I enjoyed driving one of the team’s 2018 cars at Imola a few weeks back and I can’t wait to try the current car, taking part in an official test session with all the other cars on track.

"I really appreciate how everyone at Scuderia AlphaTauri has helped me to prepare for this session, and I also want to thank Red Bull and Dr. Marko for giving me this opportunity. During the session, my focus will be on following the team’s instructions and giving my feedback to the engineers.

"It will also be a chance for me to learn as much as possible and help my own personal development.”

Tsunoda’s anticipated opportunity comes after a stellar rookie season in F2 with Carlin, upsetting the bookies favourite Robert Shwartzman to secure the ‘Rookie of the Year’ honours.

A member of Honda’s junior development programme, he would be the first to progress all the way to F1 through it, unlike Nirei Fukuzumi and Nobuharu Matsushita before him, while h’d be the third F2 driver to be confirmed along with Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher.

Set to become the first Japanese driver to start an F1 race since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014, he remains championed by Red Bull despite Honda’s impending withdrawal from F1 at the end of the 2021 F1 season.

 

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