Yuki Tsunoda is a Japanese racing driver who has been signed by the Scuderia Alpha Tauri Honda team to race in Formula One. He is the 2018 Japanese F4 Champion and is a member of the Honda Formula Dream Project.
Tsunoda was born on 11 May 2000 in Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan. He grew up watching his father compete in the local racing series in Japan at the Nakai Inner Circuit. At Scuderia Alpha Tauri, Tsunoda will replace Daniil Kvyat and partner Piere Gasly on his debut in Formula One.
Yuki Tsunoda’s Career Before Formula 1
Tsunoda started his racing career by karting at a young age of four years. Launching his professional karting career in 2010, Tsunoda competed in the JAF Junior Karting Championship. He then competed in the regional class in 2013 and moved to the national class in 2014.
Japanese Formula 4 (2016-2018)
Tsunoda completed his tenure in advanced Formula class in Honda’s Suzuka Racing School in 2016. He then became a member of the Honda Formula Dream Project. Tsunoda made his racing car debut with the Sulekina Racing Team the same year when he raced in the one-off event in Suzuka in the F4 Japanese Championship. He finished 2nd in the first race, earning his first podium, and finished 4th in the second race.
Tsunoda competed in a full season of single-seater car racing in 2017. He participated in the F4 Japanese Championship as well as in the regional East Series of the JAF F4 Japanese Championship. Contesting in both the championships driving for Honda, Tsunoda finished 4th in the F4 national Championship. But he won the East Series JAF F4 Japanese Championship.
In 2018, Tsunoda again competed in the F4 Japanese Championship driving for Honda, this time winning the championship by taking 7 races.
FIA Formula 3, Euroformula Open (2019)
When Honda tied up with Red Bull in Formula One, Tsunoda was transferred to drive for Red Bull along with the Honda programme. Red Bull Honda announced towards the end of 2018 that Tsunoda will race with Jenzer Motorsport in the newly announced FIA Formula 3 Championship.
In 2019, the FIA Formula 3 Championship was formed by merging the GP3 Series and the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Tsunoda finished 9th in the championship, winning once and earning three podium places. By the end of the season, Tsunoda had scored all of Jenzer Motorsport’s points.
Following the cancellation of the Formula European Masters Championship in 2019, Tsunoda also competed in the Euroformula Open championship. Driving for Motorpark, Tsunoda finished the first race at Circuit Paul Ricard in the second place. He won his maiden championship win at the second race at Hockenheim. Tsunoda finished third in the Pau Grand Prix.
FIA Formula 2 Championship (2020)
Honda announced at the beginning of 2020 that Tsunoda will drive for United Kingdom-based Carlin Motor Sport. With Carlin, Tsunoda contested in the FIA Formula 2 Championship. He finished third in the championship’s 2020 season. Tsunoda ended up taking 3 wins, 7 podium positions and 4 pole positions.
In August 2020, Franz Tost, the principal of the Scuderia Alpha Tauri Honda Formula One team announced that they had signed on Tsunoda. Tsunoda drove at an end of the season driving at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend in December 2020.
Tsunoda first test drove a 2018 Torro Rosso FTR13 car at the Autodrome Internazionale Enzo de Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy. In December it was announced that Tsunoda will partner Pierre Gasly and replace Daniil Kvyat for the 2021 Formula One season.