AlphaTauri re-sign ‘problem child’ Yuki Tsunoda for 2023 grid, who goes where

AlphaTauri re-sign ‘problem child’ Yuki Tsunoda for 2023 grid, who goes where

  • Motorsport
  • September 23, 2022
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  • 18
  • 3 minutes read

Yuki Tsunoda will stay with AlphaTauri next season, the Italian Formula One team announced on Thursday, with its boss saying the Japanese driver “deserves a seat” in the sport.

Tsunoda, 22, is in his second season with AlphaTauri after making his F1 debut last year and is currently 16th in the drivers’ standings.

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He came fourth at last year’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for his best finish.

Tsunoda, who moved to AlphaTauri’s hometown of Faenza last year and races alongside Pierre Gasly, said he was “glad that I get to carry on racing”.

“Of course our 2022 season isn’t over yet and we’re still pushing hard in the midfield battle,” Tsunoda said in a statement released by the team.

“I’m fully focused on finishing it on a high and then we will look forward to next year.” AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost described Tsunoda as “a talented driver” who had “improved a lot this season”.

“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,” said the Austrian.

Tsunoda will compete at his home Japanese Grand Prix for the first time next month.

The race was cancelled last year and in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tsunoda is the first Japanese driver in Formula One since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014.

However, he’s also had a mixed time in the sport, having finished in the points on several occasions and showed he can battle with some of the best drivers on the grid.

But the precocious 22-year-old also has a tendency to lose his temper easily and blow up in expletive-laden outbursts over team radio.

It led to the team hiring a psychologist for the young driver.

Adviser and head of Red Bull’s junior development Helmut Marko said at the time: “Thank god Max (Verstappen) is calm. Our problem child in this respect, not only in this respect, is Tsunoda. He explodes on the radio, you wouldn’t believe it.”

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