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Yuki Tsunoda keeps AlphaTauri seat for 2023

AlphaTauri's 2023 line-up is now complete

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In what is proving to be an underwhelming season for AlphaTauri, Yuki Tsunoda has done enough to race with the team for a third season.

The 22-year-old is currently 16th in the standings (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The young Japanese driver was promoted to Formula 1 in 2021, partnering Pierre Gasly. Together, the duo produced a sixth-place finish in the constructors’ championship with 142 points.

So far in 2022, it appears that AlphaTauri has not fully taken advantage of the new regulations. The Italian team is currently eighth in the standings with just 33 points. Of them, 11 were scored by Tsunoda.

With rumours that Gasly could move to Alpine for 2023, Tsunoda could provide the consistency that the team needs.

What Tsunoda has to say

Heaps of junior drivers have been linked to potential 2023 seats, so Tsunoda could be considered lucky to retain his.

Speaking of his new contract, he said: “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 that 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.”

Tsunoda’s best race of the season was in Imola, where he crossed the line in seventh. Since then, he has scored a single point and retired from three races. Nevertheless, team principal Franz Tost expressed pride in the young driver.

“As we’ve seen since he joined us last year, Yuki is a very talented driver and has improved a lot this season,” Tost told Formula 1. “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, so I’m pleased he’s been given the time to show his full potential.”

He added:

“In addition, it’s a testament to Dr. Marko [Red Bull Motorsports Adviser] and his driver programme 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 and AlphaTauri, as well as Honda, for their continuous support and for allowing him to stay with us for another year.”

Tsunoda’s performances

There are six races remaining in the 2022 season. For Tsunoda, the more concerning statistic relates to his penalty points record. He is currently on a worrying eight points – four more would result in a race ban.

His season has been marred by grid penalties, and it doesn’t help that the team has struggled in general. They frequently struggle to compete with other midfield outfits.

The announcement of this deal means that, in theory, AlphaTauri has a complete line-up for 2023. Back in June, it was revealed that Gasly had extended his contract. However, he could leave the team if they find a suitable replacement. The latest rumours suggest that Nyck de Vries, who impressed while racing in place of Alex Albon in Monza, could take Gasly’s place.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

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