Yuki Tsunoda




RB F1 Team

Date of birth:

May 11, 2000

Country of birth:



For the first time since 2014, a Japanese driver, Yuki Tsunoda, is gracing the Formula 1 circuit. Just four years ago, Red Bull junior Tsunoda was racing in Formula 4 in his homeland, and now he’s making his debut in the pinnacle of motorsport.

The Ascent of a Motorsport Prodigy

In 2021, Yuki Tsunoda is one of three rookies in Formula 1, alongside Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, making the leap from Formula 2. The diminutive Tsunoda – standing at 1.59 meters – has carved a path to the top of motorsport in just a few years. In 2018, as a Honda junior, the Alpha Tauri driver clinched the title in the Japanese Formula 4, before moving to Europe to compete in Formula 3.

Thanks to the collaboration between Honda and Red Bull, Tsunoda was included in the energy drink manufacturer’s talent program. Despite an inconsistent season, the Japanese driver frequently showcased his speed, notably with a victory at Monza. Although he finished ninth in the championship, he was promoted to Formula 2. Even in this final stepping stone to F1, Tsunoda quickly found his rhythm, securing multiple pole positions, winning three races, and finishing third in the championship.

A Convincing Performance

His performance was enough to convince Red Bull boss Helmut Marko of his potential and secure a spot in Red Bull’s training team. In 2021, Honda’s final year in Formula 1, Tsunoda was given the opportunity to prove himself alongside Pierre Gasly. Tsunoda made an immediate impact, boldly overtaking F1 veteran Fernando Alonso in the race and finishing ninth, scoring points on his debut. “The best rookie in years,” praised F1 executive Ross Brawn.

Like every rookie, Tsunoda also faced growing pains. He crashed in qualifying at Imola, a mishap that also occurred in Azerbaijan and France. In Spain, he openly questioned whether he was using the same equipment as teammate Pierre Gasly. Team boss Franz Tost gave him a metaphorical kick in the pants and ordered Tsunoda to move to Faenza. He was put on a diet, as Tsunoda is known for his love of food, especially in large quantities. A simulator was installed at his home, keeping him always close to the factory.

Yuki Tsunoda’s Performance in Formula 1

In the second half of the season, Yuki Tsunoda demonstrated his speed over a single lap. The Japanese driver made it to Q3 seven times in a row but failed to convert these positions into points. He ended the year in 14th place. His best result was achieved in the final Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, where he secured an impressive fourth place.

Challenges Faced in 2022

The year 2022 proved to be more challenging for Tsunoda, partly due to the inconsistent performance of the AlphaTauri car. He started the season in Bahrain in the points, but a broken fuel line prevented him from starting the race in Jeddah. Tsunoda described the Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna as ‘my best F1 race so far’. In wet conditions, Yuki Tsunoda impressively fought his way from P16 to P7. He scored another point in Spain, but then went twelve races without scoring any points. His struggles ranged from a crash in the qualifying in Monaco, to equipment failure in Baku, to clumsy collisions in Silverstone and Paul Ricard.

End of Season and Future Prospects

It was not until Austin that Tsunoda managed to score a point again, which turned out to be his last in 2022. He finished the season in a disappointing 17th place with just 12 points. His teammate Pierre Gasly is moving to Alpine, and in 2023, Tsunoda will be competing internally with Dutch driver Nyck de Vries.

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