Driver Profile: Yuki Tsunoda

NameYuki Tsunoda
Date of Birth11 May 2000
Place of BirthSagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan
Car Number22
First Entry2021 Bahrain Grand Prix
AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in the paddock REUTERS/Mike Blake

Biography of F1 driver Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda’s professional karting career began in 2010, when he joined the JAF Junior Karting Championship. He moved to the regional class in 2013 and the national class the following year.

From there, Tsunoda graduated from Honda’s Suzuka Circuit Racing School in the advanced formula class to become a member of the Honda Formula Dream Project in 2016.

He made his single-seater debut in the F4 Japanese Championship that same year, competing in an event at Suzuka for the Sutekina Racing Team. his first full season in the series followed in 2017, while also taking part in the regional East series of the JAF F4 Japanese Championship. He finished third in the former and first in the latter while competing with Honda.

Stops in Formula 3, Euroformula Open and Formula 2

Honda’s deal with Red Bull in F1 helped Tsunoda join the Red Bull Junior Team, alongside the Honda programme.

Tsunoda took part in the 2018 Formula 3 Championship, where he scored all the points for Jenzer to finish ninth in the championship. He also claimed a maiden championship in the Euroformula Open Championship.

The following year saw the youngster join Carlin for the 2020 Formula 2 season. Highlights included victories at Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Sakhir, with Tsunoda ending the year with seven podiums and four pole positions. He ended the year third in the championship with 200 points.

Tsunoda lands F1 seat with AlphaTauri

After driving for AlphaTauri at the end-of-season rookie test following the 2020 F1 season, Tsunoda replaced Daniil Kvyat as Pierre Gasly’s teammate for the 2021 campaign.

Tsunoda’s debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix ended with an impressive ninth-place finish, leading F1’s technical director Ross Brawn to brand the youngster as “F1’s best rookie in year.”

There were hiccups throughout the season, including crashing during qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with the latter coming after reaching Q3 for the first time.

After another crash in France, Tsunoda respond with a seventh-place finish in Hungary, which later became sixth following Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification. Tsunoda saved his best result for last, ending the campaign with a fourth place finish in Abu Dhabi to secure 14th in the Drivers’ Championship on 32 points.