Yuki Tsunoda’s career has been nothing but fast paced. The 20 years old from Sagamihara, Japan has taken the world of single seaters by storm. He started to climb the ladder from the Japanese F4 between 2016 and 2018, and after only one season in FIA F3 he moved to F2 where he drove for Carlin, and where in his rookie season he already finished 3rd, only one (!) point behind Callum Ilott on 2nd.
Due to his phenomenal performance as a Red Bull academy driver he was promoted to the AlphaTauri F1 seat, where he had his debut during the Bahrain GP. After not being able to get out from Q2 and qualifying 13th, he gave us a glimpse of his talent during the race and finished 9th, after impressive duels with Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll just to name a few.
Tsunoda became the first ever Japanese driver to score points in his debut.
Ross Brawn, the F1 sporting director believes promoting Tsunoda to F1 was a smart decision from Red Bull, and he named the 20 year old the “best rookie F1 has had for years”.
As he said: "I'm really impressed with Yuki Tsunoda. I met him at the weekend for the first time and he's a really impressive character. He is quite amusing and his language in the car can be a bit fruity. He showed some brilliant spells in the race, which is encouraging considering it was his first F1 race. He is the best rookie F1 has had for years, having been fairly stunning in whatever series he has competed in. His promotion by Red Bull looks like a brilliant move.”
Brawn hopes that having such a stellar young Japanese driver on the grid can be helpful for F1 and provide a boost in audiences for the returning Japanese GP. As he said: “We can all remember the glorious days of full grandstands at Suzuka and the passion of the Japanese fans. I think we are going to have that again, which is incredibly exciting.”
So far the steps of Tsunoda have been very impressive to watch. What will he show us in the following races during the 2021?