Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda will run with two Japanese racers in next week’s post-season Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, with Yuki Tsunoda being joined by fellow FIA Formula 2 racer Marino Sato.
Tsunoda is expected to join AlphaTauri in place of Daniil Kvyat for the 2021 season having done enough during his maiden Formula 2 season to earn a Superlicence. He finished third in the final standings having taken three victories along the way for Carlin Motorsport.
The twenty-year-old says his focus in Abu Dhabi will be to learn as much as possible about the car and how it performs, as well as enhancing his own personal development as he looks to become the first Japanese Formula 1 racer since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014.
“I am really looking forward to testing with Scuderia AlphaTauri,” said Tsunoda. “I enjoyed driving one of the team’s 2018 cars at Imola a few weeks back and I can’t wait to try the current car, taking part in an official test session with all the other cars on track.
“I really appreciate how everyone at Scuderia AlphaTauri has helped me to prepare for this session, and I also want to thank Red Bull and Dr. Marko for giving me this opportunity.
“During the session, my focus will be on following the team’s instructions and giving my feedback to the engineers. It will also be a chance for me to learn as much as possible and help my own personal development.”
Franz Tost, the Team Principal at AlphaTauri, said Tsunoda proved during his test in the 2018 car that he was a fast learner, and he is convinced he will do a stellar job next Wednesday.
“Yuki showed at the test in Imola that he is a fast learner, able to easily get familiar with the car and was able to constantly improve every lap, so we decided to have him test with us at the Young Driver Test on the Wednesday after the race,” said Tost.
“I’m convinced he will make a good step forward having a full day in the car, and this time he will be driving the AT01, so his feedback will be even more valuable for our engineers.
“It’s great to see that the Red Bull Driver Programme can prepare young drivers so well, and I have no doubts he will prove his talent once again.”
Sato is perhaps a surprise addition to the test, with the other Japanese racer not having set the world alight during his maiden Formula 2 season. He scored only one point across the twenty-four-race season, but the 2019 EuroFormula Open champion is ‘extremely happy’ for the opportunity to drive a Formula 1 car for the first time.
“I am extremely happy to be given this opportunity from AlphaTauri to drive an F1 car,” said Sato. “We will try to do as many laps as possible to get used to the car quickly and to learn maximum out of it for whatever it comes in future.
“Obviously to be driving an F1 car is the dream of every racing driver, for sure I will enjoy a lot around Abu Dhabi!”