Updated: Feb 28, 2022
Written by Janvi Unni, edited by Harshi Vashee
AlphaTauri announced earlier this week that they would be keeping rookie Yuki Tsunoda for the 2022 season, despite a lot of people thinking that he was going to be replaced after a fairly inconsistent season so far.
Yuki had a brilliant Formula One debut in Bahrain, finishing in 9th place and becoming the first Japanese driver to score points on debut. After that, his first half of the 2021 season wasn’t the most consistent, with him not being able to score points every race and always being out-qualified by his teammate Pierre Gasly. And with RedBull being known for putting a lot of pressure on their drivers and giving them the boot too soon, many thought that we wouldn’t be seeing Tsunoda on the grid next year.
But his struggles shouldn’t overshadow his good races, like a strong drive at a chaos-stricken race in Hungary to finish in 6th, and his 7th place finish in Baku which coupled with his teammate Gasly’s podium, led to a solid double points finish for the team. And even though he may have only 18 points as of now, he has also played a role in contributing to what is currently AlphaTauri’s longest points streak in their Formula One history.
RedBull Motorsport advisor, Helmut Marko, has praised the rookie and said that he is confident in Yuki’s abilities. AlphaTauri team principal, Franz Tost, has said that they are positive that Tsunoda will only get better from here on and that he has received positive reports from the team about Yuki’s progress.
“Yuki has joined the team as a rookie and is continuing to learn every day. The feedback from the engineers shows he is absorbing all the information given to him and improving. As a rookie, Yuki is only at the beginning of this journey, so it’s good that he can continue what we’ve started together.” – Franz Tost
It also helps Yuki’s case that the other drivers of the RedBull driver academy aren’t ready to make the jump to F1 just yet, and so as of now, he can focus on doing the best he can with AlphaTauri.