Tsunoda: Is it time to leave the Red Bull program?

Yuki Tsunoda recently renewed his contract with AlphaTauri for 2024. However, given Sergio Pérez’s current situation at Red Bull, a seat alongside Verstappen has never been more uncertain, at least for the upcoming season and potentially for 2025.

Based on his performance this year, Yuki has emerged as one of the most improved drivers on the grid, surpassing Nyck de Vries. While his comparisons with Ricciardo and Lawson have been closer, the 2000-born driver has demonstrated his capabilities on numerous occasions.

Despite this, he isn’t even remotely considered as a potential replacement for Pérez in the main team. This gives rise to the feeling that Red Bull might not regard him as quick enough to partner with Verstappen.

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Given this scenario, a natural question arises: does it make sense for Yuki to remain at AlphaTauri if he’ll never have the opportunity to compete with Max in the same car? The answer to this question is no, let’s explore why.

A less competitive team and a precarious seat The “lesser” team in the Red Bull family has always been conceived as a tranquil environment aimed at nurturing young and talented drivers, ultimately providing them with a chance in the top team.

Tsunoda has shown clear signs of improvement and is steadily gaining experience in the sport. However, the Austrian team seems to be giving no consideration whatsoever to affording him what would be a well-deserved “promotion.”

In this scenario, where the leading contenders to replace Pérez are Ricciardo (despite not yet proving he’s returned to peak form) and Norris (even outside the Red Bull program and under contract until 2025), it would likely be in the best interest of the Japanese driver to seek a seat with another team.

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By doing so, he would avoid finding himself in a team that, realistically, may never have ambitions as lofty as an independent outfit. Moreover, his position at AlphaTauri would be extremely precarious, should a new young talent emerge.

The most plausible alternative Having concluded that Tsunoda should depart from the Red Bull family to secure his future in F1, let’s now consider where he could potentially relocate.

A strong option could be Aston Martin, as both of their current drivers have uncertainties looming over their futures (Alonso due to age, Stroll due to performance), and in 2026, they will have Honda as their engine supplier.

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Yuki could, therefore, leverage his connection with the Japanese company and join the team as early as 2025, avoiding another year of “apprenticeship” at AlphaTauri, and the potential risk of losing his seat for that season.

In short, there’s a feeling that Tsunoda must start looking around if his goal is to stay in Formula 1 and compete for podiums, victories, and world championships.



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