Yuki Tsunoda makes his Formula 1 debut in 2021 with AlphaTauri. The highly-rated Japanese driver finished third in the 2020 FIA F2 championship.
|Full Name||Yuki Tsunoda|
|Date of Birth||11th May 2000|
|First Race||2021 Bahrain Grand Prix|
Born in Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Yuki Tsunoda began karting at the age of just four. He began his professional karting career six years later, in 2010. In the JAF Junior Karting Championship, he raced in the regional class in 2013 before progressing to the national class in the following year.
Tsunoda’s career has been backed by Honda, having graduated from the manufacturer’s Suzuka Circuit Racing School in 2016. He first raced cars in 2016, where he took part in the F4 Japanese Championship as a member of Honda’s Formula Dream Project. After competing in two races at Suzuka in 2016 and impressing by finishing as runner-up on debut, he contested in the full 2017 season. Tsunoda recorded four pole positions and four wins over the course of the year and a further three podium finishes on his way to third in the championship.
The following year, Tsunoda won half of the fourteen races in the championship and took pole position in all of the first six rounds. He retired from the first race of the season at Okayama International Circuit (formerly known as Aida), but went on to finish on the podium in all but two of the remaining races in the season. Tsunoda won the championship, finishing fourteen points ahead of Teppei Natori.
In December 2018, it was announced that Tsunoda had joined the Red Bull junior driver programme, partly thanks to Red Bull partnering with Honda as an engine supplier in Formula 1. It was later revealed that Tsunoda would step up to FIA F3 in 2019 with Jenzer Motorsport. Tsunoda went on to record all of his team’s points that year. He recorded three podium finishes, all three consecutively, culminating in victory at the second race of the Monza meeting. Over the 2019 season, Tsunoda also competed in the 2019 Euroformula Open Championship, where he finished fourth in the championship, recording six podium finishes – including a win at Hockenheim.
Tsunoda stepped up to Formula 2 in 2020, with his appointment to the Carlin team confirmed in January 2020. Tsunoda finished third in the championship, fifteen points away from champion Mick Schumacher. He took four pole positions and three victories over the course of the season. At the end of the year, Tsunoda was handed the Anthoine Hubert Award, awarded annually to the best rookie of the year. Significantly, Tsunoda’s third place in the championship secured him enough points to be granted an FIA Super License.
AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost revealed in August 2020 that Tsunoda would drive for the team in the post-season Young Drivers’ Test. He had his first run in an F1 car at Imola in November 2020. On 16th December, after months of speculation, it was confirmed that Tsunoda would partner Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri in 2021, replacing Daniil Kvyat.
Tsunoda sets two records in 2021: he becomes the first driver born in the 2000s to race in Formula 1 as well as the shortest driver to race in F1 since the turn of the millennium at 159cm tall, taking the record from Anthony Davidson. He will race in car number 22.