Yuki Tsunoda is further stepping up his preparations for his Formula 1 debut this season by completing some running at Imola with AlphaTauri.

The 20-year-old Japanese driver has replaced Daniil Kvyat as Pierre Gasly’s teammate at AlphaTauri for the upcoming 2021 F1 campaign following an impressive rookie Formula 2 season last year.

Tsunoda, who is backed by both Honda and Red Bull, previously took part in his first F1 test for AlphaTauri at Imola last November driving a 2018-spec Toro Rosso STR13 car, before running for the team at the post-season young driver test in Abu Dhabi the following month.

On Wednesday Tsunoda returned to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix venue for a second run with the Faenza squad, this time driving the team’s 2019 STR14 Toro Rosso in the 2020 livery.

F1’s regulations allow for teams to complete unrestricted mileage during tests with cars that are at least two years old. As a result, AlphaTauri is taking the opportunity to provide Tsunoda with the chance to rack up some extra running ahead of his rookie season.

With pre-season testing cut to a single event featuring just three days of on-track action this year, Tsunoda will only get the one and a half days behind the wheel of AlphaTauri’s 2021 car before he contests his first grand prix in Bahrain a fortnight later, meaning any additional track time has increased value.

Testing at Imola not only makes logistical sense for AlphaTauri, but it will also provide the team and Tsunoda with some valuable data with the circuit returning to the F1 calendar to host the second round of the season on 18 April. 

AlphaTauri is hoping to hand Tsunoda a fourth test at Misano next month.

Tsunoda is not the only F1 driver in action today, with Carlos Sainz making his debut for Ferrari at Fiorano as part of a five-day private test.