Tsunoda’s F1 Role Becomes Less Certain

Questions are emerging about Yuki Tsunoda’s future in Formula 1.

Just a few days ago, the 23-year-old Japanese appeared primed for a fourth successive season with Red Bull’s secondary squad, Alpha Tauri.

Franz Tost had confirmed at Monza: “I definitely see Yuki in the team next year. That’s more or less already fixed.”

However, with Tost’s impending retirement at the end of this season, Laurent Mekies is poised to take over, and Peter Bayer is set to step in as team CEO.

Bayer has since been quoted saying: “In my opinion, we cannot continue to only train young drivers. We must also remain competitive ourselves.

“Nowadays, that means having an experienced and a young driver. The young driver can then learn from the experienced driver, and the experienced driver can help the team.

“Daniel (Ricciardo), for example, has helped us enormously with the setup of the car. So I am convinced that you need two drivers like that.”

Though currently sidelined, 33-year-old Australian Daniel Ricciardo is undeniably Alpha Tauri’s “experienced driver”, especially as Dr Helmut Marko dismissed the idea of Sebastian Vettel making a surprise return to the Red Bull group for 2024.

“We already have that experienced driver in Daniel Ricciardo,” he told Servus TV.

Therefore, after three seasons in F1, Tsunoda’s position as the young driver is now being re-evaluated, especially with Ricciardo’s temporary replacement, 21-year-old Liam Lawson, now shining next to Tsunoda.

Tsunoda conceded he isn’t assured a seat.

“It would be nice of course if I could stay with the Red Bull family,” he said. “But to be honest, I don’t know more about this either. They’re going to decide this from above.

“All I can do is focus on what they expect from me and get the best results. I am now mainly trying to prove my worth as a driver, not only to Red Bull but also to the other teams. That’s my goal right now.”