Yuki Tsunoda has taken steps to address the rumors connecting him to Lance Stroll’s seat at Aston Martin.
Speculation regarding Lance Stroll’s underwhelming performances and his future with the team grew after a heated incident in Qatar, where the Canadian driver physically confronted his trainer following another Q1 elimination.
The FIA initiated a post-incident investigation, leading to Lance Stroll issuing a written apology. The FIA clarified, “The compliance officer has noted this apology and issued a written warning, reminding Lance of his responsibilities as a competitor.”
Interestingly, these events unfolded alongside rumors suggesting that Aston Martin might be considering Japanese driver Tsunoda. Tsunoda has potential ties to the team due to their future works engine partner, Honda.
Dr. Helmut Marko previously stated that Aston Martin would need to convince Red Bull to terminate Tsunoda’s renewed Red Bull-Alpha Tauri contract for 2024.
However, Tsunoda sought to clarify his stance, stating, “I don’t want Red Bull to misunderstand and think that I’m focused on signing with Aston Martin or something like that.”
He emphasized his loyalty, saying, “I’m an Alpha Tauri driver; I’ve been with Red Bull since I was 18, so I’m just focused on doing well at Red Bull. Not at Aston Martin.”
Tsunoda, who resides near Alpha Tauri’s headquarters in Faenza, attended the Il Festival dello Sport in Trento over the weekend, receiving praise from F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.
Domenicali commended Tsunoda for his role in increasing Formula 1’s popularity in Japan, describing him as “an extraordinary guy.”
Tsunoda revealed his F1 idols as “Raikkonen, Hamilton, and Alonso” and expressed his enjoyment of living in Italy compared to his time in the UK.
“In England, I had a different lifestyle – always at home, playing Playstation. In Italy, I no longer burn my brain with video games,” he humorously noted.
When asked about the fastest current driver in F1, Tsunoda joked, “Me,” before naming Max Verstappen.
Regarding intelligence on the track, Tsunoda praised “Alonso or Sainz,” with a special mention for “Fernando” as the smartest overall.
For a hypothetical holiday, Tsunoda would choose “Alex Albon, Lando (Norris), and Max.”
He also shared his positive impressions of Verstappen, describing him as “a very nice guy” who introduced him to “excellent gin and tonic” during a private plane trip, a memory for which he is grateful.