Tsunoda set for FP1 run with AlphaTauri as he closes in on F1 race seat

Yuki Tsunoda is being lined up for a Friday FP1 session with the AlphaTauri Formula 1 team as his bid for a 2021 race seat continues to gather momentum

Team boss Franz Tost has indicated that the Japanese driver may do an FP1 session in addition to the post-season young driver test in Abu Dhabi.

It was previously announced that the FIA F2 driver will conduct a 300km test at Imola after the Emilia Romagna GP, at the wheel of a 2018 Toro Rosso.

Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko said recently that it was "planned" to promote Tsunoda, who is a protege of engine supplier Honda as well as the Austrian drinks company.

He currently lies third in the F2 championship, with two race weekends in Bahrain left on the schedule.

Given the timing and Tsunoda's need to focus on F2 in Bahrain, it's logical that an FP1 run could take place in Turkey, although that would deny one of the regular drivers an opportunity to gain experience of the track.

However he could also run in Abu Dhabi, where it would be less costly for the regular race drivers.

Tost insisted that the call on who races for the team in 2021 has not yet been made.

"The driver line-up is not decided yet for next year," Tost said. "The programme with Yuki is the following - we had him at the factory last week to make his seat, because after the race in Imola we will do a 300km test.

"Maybe, but this is not decided yet, he will do an FP1 once. And then he has another two races in Bahrain, and we will see where he is finishing the F2 championship, in regard to the superlicence.

"Then he will do the Abu Dhabi young driver test, and then Red Bull will decide who will be the driver line-up for Scuderia AlphaTauri in 2021."

Inevitably there has been strong speculation that Daniil Kvyat will be dropped should Tsunoda land a race seat.

"I haven't, let's say, got many updates so far about this," said the Russian. "All I know is that there are six races remaining this season, and I'll do my best in these six races remaining, and it's the best thing I can do right now.

"I'm aware of the situation and it's very easy. And, of course, there are not so many seats available, but from my side I can only do the best in these races remaining."

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