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According to Auto Motor und Sport, Yuki Tsunoda will stay at Alpha Tauri for a fourth season, thus one more seat is off the table, as the team have had to make a choice between three drivers for the two seats.
Yuki Tsunoda renews
In a deal that is expected to be announced in his and Honda’s home race, Yuki Tsunoda will keep his Alpha Tauri seat for the 2024 season. The Japanese manufacturer is working in conjunction with Red Bull Powertrains and they supply both Red Bull and Alpha Tauri with engines.
It has also been supporting the 23-year-old driver since 2016, when his single-seater career got underway. When Honda linked up with Red Bull ahead of the 2019 season, Tsunoda became a part of the Red Bull Junior Team as well, as he made his way through Formula 3 and Formula 2, spending one season in each category.
After a successful Formula 2 campaign, he gained promotion to Formula 1 with Alpha Tauri. In two and a half seasons with the Italian outfit, he has scored 47 points, most of which came in his rookie season. It was an impressive campaign, which ended with him fourteenth in the standings, with a best result of fourth in Abu Dhabi.
In 2023, Tsunoda is the leader of the team for the first time, as Pierre Gasly moved on to Alpine. He had an impressive start to his season, finishing tenth or eleventh in the first five races of the season, in an underperforming car. He dropped off a little in the middle part of the season, but he bounced back to score his third point of the season in Belgium.
The Grands Prix in Italy and Singapore could have provided a good opportunity for points, but he has completed a total of half a lap in those two races. An engine failure eliminated him prior to the start in Monza and yesterday he had to park his car after extensive damage caused by contact with Sergio Perez.
Who will get the second seat?
As the same publication mentions, Daniel Ricciardo is the primary contender to drive alongside Tsunoda in 2024. The Australian secured a return to Formula 1 after Nyck de Vries was dropped prior to the summer break. After two good race weekends, a hand injury he sustained during Free Practice in Zandvoort meant that he had to miss the next few races.
Liam Lawson replaced him, as he made his Formula 1 debut. The Kiwi has performed brilliantly, finishing thirteenth in difficult conditions at Zandvoort and then bringing the car home in eleventh at Monza.
In Singapore, the rookie eliminated Max Verstappen to make it into Q3, before scoring his first points in Formula 1. A great performance saw him finish ninth in one of the toughest events in the calendar. Although these performances undoubtedly created a headache in Alpha Tauri, it looks like the team will proceed with its initial plans.
The Kiwi could still find a home in the championship though, as Logan Sargeant could lose his seat. With Mick Schumacher looking increasingly like to head to the World Endurance Championship alongside his Mercedes reserve role, an opportunity could arise for Lawson.
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