Crucial call made on 22yo ‘problem child’s future as 2023 grid continues to take shape

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Alex Conrad from Fox Sports@alexhconrad

AlphaTauri has announced Yuki Tsunoda will maintain his seat for the Formula One team in 2023 as the grid for next year continues to take shape.

Tsunoda joined the team at the start of the 2021 season and has amassed 43 points since, with 32 of those coming in his rookie campaign.

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The Japanese star, who counts Pierre Gasly as his teammate, was delighted to have struck a deal to stay with the team as he continues his rise.

“I want to say a huge thank you to Red Bull, Honda and Scuderia AlphaTauri for continuing to give me the opportunity to drive in F1,” Tsunoda said.

Having moved to Italy last year, to be closer to the factory, I really feel part of the team and am glad that I get to carry on racing with them in 2023.

Of course, our 2022 season isn’t over yet and we’re still pushing hard in the midfield battle, so I’m fully focused on finishing it on a high and then we will look forward to next year.”

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AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost was equally excited to have retained the 22-year-old’s services for another season and looks forward to watching him go from strength-to-strength.

“As we’ve seen since he joined us last year, Yuki is a very talented driver and has improved a lot this season,” Tost said.

The pace he has shown recently is clear evidence of a steep learning curve, which proves he deserves a seat in F1, and I still expect some strong results from him in the last six races of 2022.

As I always say, a driver needs at least three years to fully get to grips with Formula 1, so I’m pleased he’s been given the time to show his full potential.

“In addition, it’s a testament to Dr. Marko and his driver programme that we’re able to bring these young talents up from the junior categories and develop them.

“I’d like to join Yuki in thanking Red Bull and AlphaTauri, as well as Honda, for their continuous support and for allowing him to stay with us for another year.”

Tsunoda started his sophomore campaign strongly but has lost momentum in the second part of the year, when a series of crashes and mistakes have marred his generally improved form.

Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko described him as a “problem child” earlier in the year and revealed he had hired a psychologist for the Japanese driver.

As it stands, Tsunoda and Gasly will be teammates for a third consecutive year but AlphaTauri and Red Bull have both stated they will allow the French star to go to another team if a suitable replacement can be found.

The likely candidate to become Tsunoda’s new partner is American IndyCar driver Colton Herta, although it is a difficult task to bring him into F1 as he must obtain a Super Licence.