Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda will make his Formula 1 debut with AlphaTauri in 2021 after Red Bull opted to promote the 20-year-old to replace Daniil Kvyat.
Tsunoda will become the first Japanese driver to race in F1 since Kamui Kobayashi, who last competed in the sport in 2014 with Caterham.
“Like most racing drivers, it has always been my goal to race in Formula 1, so I am very happy with this news,” said Tsunoda in an official statement.”I want to thank Scuderia AlphaTauri, Red Bull, and Dr 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,” he added.
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 16, 2020
Tsunoda, who will be the first driver to race in F1 born in 2000 or later, has made rapid progress through junior formulae after winning the F4 Japanese Championship in 2018.
He finished ninth in his first F3 campaign the following year, taking one win and two further podiums, before making waves in F2 with seven podiums – including two victories.
“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,” said Franz Tost, AlphaTauri Team Principal.
“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,” Tost added.