F1 News: Yuki Tsunoda likely to sign new contract with AlphaTauri

Jaden Diaz
4 Aug, 2023

Yuki Tsunoda is well-placed to sign a contract extension with AlphaTauri, having strung together an impressive campaign with the Faenza-based team. The Japanese driver has taken a notable step forward in 2023, changing the narrative after facing more critical F1 news stories as a rookie.

Raw speed has never been in doubt for Tsunoda, whose electric debut season in Formula 2 earned him an instant promotion. However, a tendency to make mistakes soon became an issue for the youngster.

With Red Bull notoriously ruthless with their young drivers, this aspect of his driving needed to be addressed. Fast-forward to halfway through his third F1 season, and there has been a clear step forward.

Tsunoda’s pace was already improving last season when he largely matched the more experienced and well-respected Pierre Gasly. However, the 23-year-old’s considerable edge over Nyck de Vries in early 2023 shocked most observers.

Helmut Marko’s prediction that De Vries would lead AlphaTauri this year quickly fell apart, with the #22 consistently optimising a generally uninspiring AT04.

Daniel Ricciardo’s arrival adds an extra layer of pressure within the AlphaTauri garage, especially after the 8-time race winner’s impressive comeback in Hungary.

In another example of Tsunoda’s new-found experience and dependability, he responded immediately with a hard-earned P10 finish in Belgium.

Helmut Marko has spoken in glowing terms of the Japanese driver this season, pleased that Red Bull’s investment is beginning to pay off with the performances shown in 2023 so far.

More recent information from Kemal Şengül of tr.motorsport.com suggests it is a matter of when – not if – a new deal will be agreed upon for Tsunoda.

This is hardly surprising, with a few more strong showings against Daniel Ricciardo likely to erase any lingering doubts about whether a contract extension is warranted for the 23-year-old.

If an announcement is not made this summer, then the first rounds after the break will almost certainly be formative in Red Bull’s final decision. After all, every driver at the Austrian set-up is being evaluated until the end of 2023.

Regardless of whether Helmut Marko considers Tsunoda ready for a Red Bull seat (which will be difficult to ascertain before the season ends), the fast-improving youngster is on track to solidify his place in Formula 1.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang



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