Published on December 21st, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
Yuki Tsunoda, The 1st Honda-Supported F1 Driver In 12 Years
Honda’s relationship with Formula 1 has been filled with ups and downs. Just as they perfected their hybrid power V6 power units, they announce the won’t be returning as a supplier in 2022. There is something of a silver lining though. The company recently announced that they’d be entering a member of their Junior Driver program into the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda F1 team. This new F1 driver is named Yuki Tsunoda and he’s only 20 years old.
Despite his youth, he has the full confidence of the team and Honda. He has proven himself time and time again, winning the Japanese JAF-F4 in 2017 and 2018 and securing podiums for various other Formula 4, Formula 3 and Formula 2 Championships. His full list of racing achievements are found below.
What’s also important to note here is that this is the first Honda-supported Formula 1 drive since Takuma Sato raced between 2002 and 2008.
Honda’s involvement in Formula One stretches back a long way. They first entered the discipline in 1964, but left a few years later. They returned again from the early 1980s until the early 1990s as an engine supplier. Their next entrance into Formula 1 happened in 2000 and lasted until the Global Financial Crisis. In 2013, they reentered F1 to supple power units to the McLaren F1 team, but success only came in 2018 and continues to this day.
Honda is pleased to announce that Yuki Tsunoda, a member of the Honda’s Junior Driver program will drive for Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda in the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship (F1). The 20 year old, from Kanagawa, Japan is also a member of the Red Bull Junior Team and this year has been racing for the Carlin team in the FIA Formula 2 championship (F2), regarded as the main feeder series for Formula 1. He will now be making the step up to Honda hybrid power unit next year.
In his rookie F2 season, Tsunoda took three wins, finished on the podium a further four times and ended the year in third place overall in the championship, to ensure that he has enough points to be granted a Formula 1 super license. He also completed a test in a 2018 Formula 1 car at Imola in early November and has just taken part in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, driving for his new team.
The last Japanese driver to race in Formula 1 was Kamui Kobayashi, while the last Honda-supported driver in the category was Takuma Sato, who competed in F1 from 2002 to 2008.
Quote From Yuki Tsunoda
“Like most racing drivers, it has always been my goal to race in Formula 1, so I am very happy with this news. I want to thank Scuderia AlphaTauri, Red Bull and Dr. Helmut Marko for giving me this opportunity, and of course everyone from Honda, for all their support so far in my career, giving me great opportunities to race in Europe. I must also thank the teams that I have raced with to get to this point, particularly Carlin, with whom I have learned so much this year. I realize that I will be carrying the hopes of a lot of Japanese F1 fans next year and I will be doing my best for them, too.”
Yuki Tsunoda Driver Profile
May 11, 2000
Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan
2016 Graduated Suzuka Circuit Racing School Formula
2017 Winner of Japanese JAF-F4
Japanese FIA F4 3rd in Championship
2018 Winner of Japanese FIA F4
2019 FIA F3 with Jenzer Motorsport, 9th in Championship, 1 win, 3 podiums
Euro Formula Open Championship with Team Moto Park, 4th in Championship
2020 FIA F2 with Carlin, 3rd in Championship, 3 wins, 7 podiums and 4 Poles