Tsunoda F1 graduation prospects grow with maiden AlphaTauri test

Red Bull junior Yuki Tsunoda will take a step closer to a 2021 AlphaTauri Formula 1 race drive when he tests for the Italian team at Imola tomorrow

Tsunoda F1 graduation prospects grow with maiden AlphaTauri test

The Japanese F2 driver will run a 2018 Toro Rosso STR13, the same car that was used by Pierre Gasly and Dany Kvyat for a pre-season outing at the same venue.

The test is part of AlphaTauri's plan to prepare Tsunoda for 2021, and also nudge him towards official qualification for a superlicence.

He has already been promised an outing in the Abu Dhabi rookie test that follows the last round of the world championship, and he may also do an FP1 session prior to that, although no decision has been made.

Tsunoda currently lies third in the F2 standings after wins at Silverstone and Spa, but is embroiled in a four-way scrap for the position with Christian Lundgaard, Robert Shwartzman and Nikita Mazepin, who are all within seven points of him and could threaten his bid to automatically qualify for a superlicence by finishing in the top four.

"Yuki Tsunoda has to get used to a Formula 1 car," said AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost.

"It is his first outing in a Formula 1 car. It's here in Imola.

"It's not an easy track, and I will instruct him in the best possible way what to do, and then we want to do a 300kms run with him, just to get the permission from the FIA to do eventually a FP1 in Bahrain or Abu Dhabi.

"We will see if it's necessary. It depends where he ends up in the F2 drivers' championship.

"If he is in the first four, he gets a superlicence, if he is fifth and maybe he needs two FP1s, because they will be a point as well."

While Tsunoda is widely tipped to get the second AlphaTauri seat alongside Pierre Gasly, its current incumbent Daniil Kvyat provided a timely reminder of his abilities with a late charge to fourth place at Imola.

Former Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon could also be in the mix, should he be demoted from Red Bull Racing.

"It's better to have a queue instead of having nothing," said Tost.

"I think the decision will be made soon, a decision from Red Bull, and then we will see.

"We are not in a hurry. If it's before the end of the season, it's fine.

"It depends also I think where Yuki Tsunoda ends in the championship, because it is a very important factor."

Tost played down any push from Honda to help Tsunoda into the seat, insisting that he qualifies on merit.

"No, no, no, no, it's just [because] of his performance," he said.

"There's nothing to do with any sponsors, I feel like this. This was never the case at neither Toro Rosso, nor at Scuderia AlphaTauri.

"No, we must be convinced that the driver has the necessary ability and skills to become a successful F1 driver.

"Because although we are the so-called sister team, our brother expects good drivers from us."

shares
comments
Wolff: Every F1 driver needs to crash behind safety car

Previous article

Wolff: Every F1 driver needs to crash behind safety car

Next article

Bottas: Nothing unfair about Hamilton strategy divergence at Imola

Bottas: Nothing unfair about Hamilton strategy divergence at Imola
Load comments
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021