Honda is pleased to announce that Yuki Tsunoda, a member of the Honda’s Junior Driver program will drive for Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda in the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship (F1). The 20 year old, from Kanagawa, Japan is also a member of the Red Bull Junior Team and this year has been racing for the Carlin team in the FIA Formula 2 championship (F2), regarded as the main feeder series for Formula 1. He will now be making the step up to Honda hybrid power unit next year.
In his rookie F2 season, Tsunoda took three wins, finished on the podium a further four times and ended the year in third place overall in the championship, to ensure that he has enough points to be granted a Formula 1 super license. He also completed a test in a 2018 Formula 1 car at Imola in early November and has just taken part in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, driving for his new team.
The last Japanese driver to race in Formula 1 was Kamui Kobayashi, while the last Honda-supported driver in the category was Takuma Sato, who competed in F1 from 2002 to 2008.
■ Yuki Tsunoda
“Like most racing drivers, it has always been my goal to race in Formula 1, so I am very happy with this news. I want to thank Scuderia AlphaTauri, Red Bull and Dr. Helmut Marko for giving me this opportunity, and of course everyone from Honda, for all their support so far in my career, giving me great opportunities to race in Europe. I must also thank the teams that I have raced with to get to this point, particularly Carlin, with whom I have learned so much this year. 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.”
■ Franz Tost, Team Principal of Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
“Red Bull has been following Yuki’s career for a while now and I am sure he will be a great asset to our team. Watching him in Formula 2 this year, he has demonstrated the right mix of racing aggression and good technical understanding. 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. In addition, his integration with the Honda engineers has been seamless, which certainly helps. At the test in Abu Dhabi this week, he proved to be a fast learner and that he is ready to make the step to Formula 1.”
■ Takahiro Hachigo, President, Representative Director and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
“On behalf of everyone at Honda I wish to congratulate Yuki on making the step up to Formula 1. It is a dream come true for him and a justification of all the effort Honda puts into its young driver programme. We are proud of what we have achieved together so far and look forward to following him on this next stage to be the fastest driver in the world. We know it will not be easy competing at the pinnacle of motorsport, but we believe in his abilities. Our message to him is simple, “Push, push Yuki!”
■ Yuki Tsunoda
May 11, 2000
Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan
2016 Graduated Suzuka Circuit Racing School Formula
2017 Winner of Japanese JAF-F4
Japanese FIA F4 3rd in Championship
2018 Winner of Japanese FIA F4
2019 FIA F3 with Jenzer Motorsport, 9th in Championship, 1 win, 3 podiums
Euro Formula Open Championship with Team Moto Park, 4th in Championship
2020 FIA F2 with Carlin, 3rd in Championship, 3 wins, 7 podiums and 4 Poles