Trevor Carlin believes Yuki Tsunoda will be on the Formula 1 grid in 2021 with Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, providing he does enough in 2020 to earn the Superlicence points he needs to qualify for the seat.
Tsunoda currently sits third in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with two rounds and four races remaining of the season, and should he finish inside the top four, he will have earned himself enough points on his Superlicence to race in Formula 1. He is in line to replace Daniil Kvyat at AlphaTauri.
Carlin, who runs Tsunoda in Formula 2, says the Japanese racer is possibly the fastest driver in the championship right now, and he expects him to join current Formula 2 championship leader Mick Schumacher in graduating to the top level of single seater racing in 2021.
“Certainly Mick’s a shoo-in for Alfa, I’d say Yuki will be a shoo-in for AlphaTauri,” said Carlin to Reuters. “I think Yuki’s the fastest driver out there, he’s just had too many DNFs and incidents that have cost him the championship really.
“He’s the real deal. He learns so quickly. He’s the first one that really has come in and hit it hard. He’s a rookie fighting for the title and that hasn’t happened with a Japanese driver for a long, long time.”
Japan has not had a Formula 1 driver since Kamui Kobayashi left the sport at the end of 2014, but with Tsunoda, they have a good shout at seeing the country once again represented in Formula 1 next season.
Tsunoda recently undertook a seat fitting in a 2018 Scuderia Toro Rosso as he prepares for his maiden Formula 1 test with AlphaTauri, which will take place early next month at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
He will then race in the final two rounds of the Formula 2 championship in Bahrain, with the Bahrain International Circuit hosting races on consecutive weekends at the end of November through to the beginning of December. He currently has two wins to his name in 2020, and is forty-four points behind Schumacher in the standings.