Carlin driver and Red Bull Junior Team member, Yuki Tsunoda, had his first Formula One test driving at Imola for AlphaTauri.
Driving a 2018 Toro Rosso reskinned in the striking AlphaTauri AT01 livery, Yuki clocked up 350km of running. Red Bull Racing/AlphaTauri only have two of their four seats confirmed for 2021. 20-year-old Tsunoda will be hoping for his chance to gain a full-time seat at the junior AlphaTauri team.
His outing in the days following the inaugural (and likely, only) Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will give the management at Red Bull insight to the Tsunoda’s pace. Regulations stipulate the F1 teams must test young drivers in cars at least 2 years old. Still, AlphaTauri will be sure to have an idea of the pace their 2018 challenger should be hitting at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
AlphaTauri declined to share the times Yuki Tsunoda set in his test with the public. For Yuki, the primary objective was to meet the 300km of F1 running required to obtain a super-licence.
Franz Tost with a keen eye on Yuki Tsunoda
Curiously, team principal, Franz Tost, was in attendance for the test. Of course, this leads to speculation that Tsunoda is a serious consideration for the 2021 drive in F1. Daniil Kvyat will almost certainly leave the Red Bull family at the end of 2020. The decision for the second AlphaTauri seat looks to be between an Alex Albon demotion from Red Bull, or a Yuki Tsunoda promotion from F2.
However, one last hurdle lies in place for Tsunoda to make it to F1. But it is a hurdle entirely in his hands. If Yuki finishes in the top 4 of Formula 2 this season, he will acquire 30 super-licence points. That meets the minimum needed to race in F1. Tsunoda currently lies in 3rd-place in the championship, aided by his five podium appearances this season.
If Yuki Tsunoda can maintain his pace from Sochi, that top-4 finish should prove no problem. The upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix will be his next opportunity to solidify his championship position.