AlphaTauri team principal – Franz Tost – has spoken in very glowing terms about Yuki Tsunoda after the first rounds of the 2023 season.
The Alpha Tauri boss has recognized Tsunoda’s start to the year, which has exceeded what was generally expected of him heading into this year.
Nyck de Vries was widely discussed as a genuine threat to Tsunoda during the winter break, with the Japanese driver’s progression area of heavy scrutiny in F1.
However, the 22-year-old has managed to withstand the significant pressure surrounding him and comfortably establish himself as the team leader.
Speaking before the Australian GP, Franz Tost made no secret about his satisfaction with Tsunoda’s progress:
“Yuki drove two extremely strong races so far. I am very happy with him,” crash.net quotes him as saying.
“It’s not his fault we aren’t competitive yet. As far as I know, Sergio Perez still has a contract for next year.”
When asked more specifically about Tsunoda’s chances of a Red Bull promotion, Tost was optimistic:
“All I can say is that Yuki is on the right track. He has improved in every aspect.
“But I think he should drive for AlphaTauri again in 2024. In 2025, I think he will finally be ready for Red Bull.”
It seems slightly premature to discuss Yuki Tsunoda’s chances of a Red Bull drive, especially given the success of Perez and Verstappen as the Austrian squad’s driver combination.
As Tost mentions, Perez’s contract – in addition to the progress Tsunoda needs to make – means that a promotion for Red Bull in the immediate future can be written off.
The priority for Tsunoda will be to earn a contract for the 2024 season with Alpha Tauri, which will secure his future and (if he continues driving at this level) give him more time to increase his driver market value.
Suggesting that Tsunoda will look beyond Red Bull – or creating any other hypothesis of his options on the F1 grid – is merely a speculative activity at this point.
However, it goes without saying that Tsunoda can become an attractive proposition throughout the field if he keeps his current trajectory.
In any case, after securing his first point of the 2023 F1 Season in Australia, it will be important to maintain this consistency in the upcoming rounds.