Yuki Tsunoda – Alpha Tauri – Bio, F1 Record, Stats and News

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(Photo by HOCH ZWEI) – Photo by Icon sport

Lots of drivers where considered the next “big thing” for Japan over the last decade or so, but in the end only Yuki Tsunoda managed to make it in F1.

Yuki Tsunoda F1 Career
Key Stats

World Championships 🏆


WC Points💯


Races 🚦


Race Wins 🏁


Podium Places🥈


Pole Positions⏱️


Debut Race 🏎️

28th March 2021

(Bahrain Grand Prix)

The timing of RedBull’s switch to Honda engines and Tsunoda’s good performances in F2 led the Japanese driver to a seat with Alpha Tauri, making him the first Japanese driver since Kamui Kobayashi to sign for an F1 team. Now, in his third year in F1 he must start proving he has what it takes to have a good F1 career.

A steady start in F1 so far for Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda made his F1 debut in 2021 for Alpha Tauri. Honda wanted a Japanese driver in the F1 grid since its return to the sport as an engine manufacturer in 2015, with Tadasuke Makino, Nirei Fukuzumi and Nobuharu Matshushita all in Honda’s radar for years. Tsunoda was the one, though, to make it to F1, replacing Daniil Kvyat in Alpha Tauri. The season started great for Tsunoda, with points in his debut in Bahrain. The car was a good one, with Tsunoda’s teammate, Gasly picking up multiple points finishes and a podium. Tsunoda didn’t really match Gasly, but managed to get seven points finishes, with his best finish being a fourth place in the final round of the championship. He finished the season in 14th position.

For 2022 he remained with Alpha Tauri, partnered once again with Pierre Gasly. The season introduced major aerodynamic changes in the cars with the return of the ground-effect, but Alpha Tauri didn’t make the best out of them with their car falling in the pecking order. Despite having a good start in the season with points in Bahrain, Tsunoda and Alpha Tauri struggled for regular points finishes, picking up just four. Tsunoda’s best result was a seventh position in Imola and he finished the season is 17th position in the championship.

Despite speculation that RedBull where interested in an driver overhaul in their sister team, Alpha Tauri, for 2023, Tsunoda kept his position. This year, though, he has a new teammate in rookie Nyck de Vries and both Tsunoda and Alpha Tauri will be hoping that the car will be able to perform better.

Driving with real emotion

Tsunoda is a passionate guy and a lover of the sport. It’s indicative that he chose to race with the number 22, the number that Jenson Button, a Japanese fan-favourite, had in his championship year in 2009. In spite of his relatively young F1 career, Tsunoda has produced some memorable moments in his radio communication with his team. In many occasions he has been recorded screaming or swearing in the team for potential mistakes or for other drivers’ behavior on the track. Tsunoda is also famous for his screaming celebrations, especially when he got his first points in his debut in Bahrain 2021.

F1’s latest bromance: Friendship with Pierre Gasly

In 2021, his first year in F1, Tsunoda got to work with Pierre Gasly in Alpha Tauri. Gasly, experienced both in F1 and RedBull’s academy and Toro Rosso/Alpha Tauri, was the leader of the team and a mentor to Yuki. But not only did they help one another in racing matters, but they also got along really well as persons, often seen talking together and joking at one another. Their relationship was quickly observed by the media and fans, after their often funny and hillarious common appearances in team videos in Youtube. After Gasly’s exit from Alpha Tauri for Alpine after the end of 2022, Tsunoda stated that he would miss Gasly and that he also learned a great lot about F1 because of him.

Growing up in a small city near Tokyo

Tsunoda was born and raised in Kanagawa Interfecture, in a small city called Kamakura which is near Tokyo, Japan. Not much is known about his family, although what’s for sure is that they weren’t a high-class family, as happens often with racing drivers. Tsunoda’s father used to race in regional championships, too, albeit mostly in motorcycles. Aside from an inspiration to Yuki, he became an engineer/mentor to him in his early karting career.

Keeping his personal life private

Slightly in contrast with other colleagues, Tsunoda isn’t at all vocal about his personal relationships or his family life. He has never appeared with any person in the paddock, so that even rumours about him being in a relationship could occur. Therefore, we don’t know about Yuki’s potential love stories, past or present.

On relatively modest wages: Tsunoda’s Net Worth, Salary and Personal Information

Well, being an F1 driver means that you will definetely going to earn a good salary. But for F1 standards, Yuki Tsunoda is one of the lowest paid drivers, something that makes sense based on his still young F1 career. He is reported to be earning somewhere around $1 million in wages from Alpha Tauri. Tsunoda’s net worth is $5 million. He also has some good endorsements, first and foremost Honda. He also has deals with Maseki Geinosha, a Japanese talent agency, with helmet constructor Arai, with cosmetics manufacturer Protex and also a pet supplies manufacturer named Platz.

  • Full name: Yuki Tsunoda
  • DOB: 11th May 2000
  • Age: 22
  • Place of Birth: Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan
  • Nationality: Japanese
  • Team: Scuderia Alpha Tauri F1 Team
  • Race number: #22
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Photo by Icon Sport

RedBull Junior travells from Japan to Europe: Tsunoda’s Junior Racing Career

Tsunoda started karting at a very young age, 4 to be precise, inspired by his father. He begun racing in regional karting championships in Japan in 2010 and moved to national karting championships in 2014. In 2016 he joined Honda’s academy and entered the Japanese F4 Championship for 2 races, switching to full-time in 2017. He finished third in his first full season and won the championship in 2018, prompting a move to Europe the FIA F3 Championship. He competed in 2019 for Jenzer, supported by Honda’s new associates, RedBull, finishing 9th and taking a win.

For 2020 he was promoted to F2 with Carlin, enjoying a good season with 3 wins and 4 poles and finishing in third place in the championship. Before he entered F1, he also raced at the Toyota Racing Series, picking up a win and finishing the championship in fourth.

Ready to lead the Alpha Tauri team in 2023?

As Tsunoda was kept by Alpha Tauri for 2023, he is for the first time the most experienced one in the team, partnered by Nyck de Vries. In all fairness, though, Alpha Tauri’s 2023 challenger doesn’t seem much improved than the previous year.

Most bookmakers give almost no chance of Tsunoda winning the championship in 2023, as expected considering the pace the Alpha Tauri has shown. According to the odds, Tsunoda has a 2000/1 chance of winning the championship. In contrast to other drivers, he is on the same bracket with some other low midfield competitors, namely his teammate de Vries, the Williams duo and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu in most bookmaker’s predictions. Therefore, he is expacted to occupy one of the positions between 16th-20th in the championship. We believe that’s fair enough, according to Alpha Tauri’s weak performances so far and Williams improvement. Therefore, we predict Tsunoda to finish in 17th position, the same as last year.

Worrying sites for Alpha Tauri and Tsunoda in Bahrain

The season opener was a tough ride for Alpha Tauri. Team boss Franz Tost stated, somewhat surprisingly, that he had lost faith in his engineers after they failed to improve the car for 2023. In this strange atmosphere the team travelled to Bahrain for the first race. As expected, the car was not particularly strong, with Tsunoda qualifying only 14th. In the race, though, Yuki managed to improve to 11th and was the last driver not to be lapped by winner Verstappen, putting up a fight for P10 with Alex Albon, but failing to score points for the first time ever in Sakhir.

Different circuit, same outcome for Tsunoda in Jeddah

Alpha Tauri travelled to the second race of the year in Saudi Arabia, hoping for a different fate in the street track of Jeddah. Although, the car never seemed quick once again and Tsunoda got knocked out of Q1 this time in qualifying, finishing 16th. His race pace proved pretty good once again, though, but not good enough for points. He managed to gain 5 places from his starting position -with just two retirements ahead of him- and finished 11th again.

Finally a point in Australia but… could there have been more?

Arriving in Albert Park, Alpha Tauri weren’t expected to be really competitive after the dissapointment of their two first races. Tsunoda managed to get his best qualifying of the season until that point for the team, though, with 12th place. In the race it got even better for Yuki as he foung himself in the points paying positions after Charles Leclerc’s and Alex Albon’s crashes. He was in 8th until the first red flag,  but after the restart he started losing positions and eventually fell to 14th. After Kevin Magnussen’s accident that brought another red flag with two laps to go, Tsunoda had a good chance of geting back into the points with a good restart. And a good restart he had, moving up to 5th with the mayhem that followed. But, according to the regulations the results didn’t stand and he got moved back the order to 10th for the last lap under the safety car, picking up his and Alpha Tauri’s first point of the year.

Continuing the strong performances in Baku

After Alpha Tauri managed to show more potential in Australia, Tsunoda would want to see more in Baku. The new sprint weekend provided with chances for good points. In Friday’s qualifying for Sunday’s race, Yuki did a great job managing to get into the Q3, while his teammate crashed out. He qualified in a brilliant 8th place. In Saturday’s “Sprint Shootout” that would set the grid for the sprint race, though, Yuki couldn’t replicate his good pace and qualified in only 18th place. He wanted to make amends in the race, but in the start of the race he touched with his teammate Nyck de Vries, bending his front left suspension and one lap later he understeered heavily into the wall, breaking his rear suspension too. He managed to bring the car to the pits and the mechanics send him out on fresh tyres, but as soon as the car returned to the track, under safety car conditions, it showed it was properly broken as it was skating in the race track in a weird angle, leading to his retirement. Sunday was a different race, though, as Yuki started from 8th on the grid. He drove a fine race, but could not keep George Russell and Lando Norris and their faster cars behind him. At the end of the race he was 12th, awaiting Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg who had both started on hands to make their mandatory stop and when they finally did, he was promoted to 10th place, scoring his second successive point.

Back to his “favourite” 11th place in Miami

After his second consecutive point finish in Baku, Tsunoda travelled to Miami, aiming for more in yet another street track. It was a “normal” weekend for F1 once again, as no sprint race was held this time. He managed to avoid the tight walls in both practice and qualifying, but couldn’t manage to avoid another Q1 exit from qualifying. He managed only 17th, while being outpaced in qualifying by teammate de Vries for the first time. In the race, though, it was once again a different story with Tsunoda starting on the hard tyres, which proved to be an inspiring strategy. He had a good start, gaining 2 places, due to his teammate’s crash into Oscar Piastri, and with other drivers pitting he reached the Top10. After his own pitstop he fell once again in 14th position, but took advantage of Nico Hulkenberg’s pitstop and also passed Alex Albon and Valtteri Bottas to claim 11th place for the third time in 5 races in 2023.

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