Yuki Tsunoda

Formula 1 Rumor: Tsunoda will move to Aston Martin (2nd Update)

(GMM) Honda says no decision has been taken as to whether Yuki Tsunoda will move on from the Red Bull family next year.

In Bahrain, Tsunoda’s relationship with teammate Daniel Ricciardo got off to a bad start in 2024 when the Japanese driver lost his cool over a team order.

Koji Watanabe, boss of Red Bull Racing and RB’s engine partner Honda Racing Corporation, admits that it’s not clear yet if Tsunoda, 23, will still be backed by Red Bull beyond 2024.

“They (Red Bull) will be with us until 2025, so if Yuki is a driver who can win, of course they would want him,” he told the Japanese outlet as-web.jp.

“In my regular meetings with Red Bull, I am told that it depends on performance this year. They have high expectations, and in order to live up to them, in my personal opinion, there needs to be a podium.

“Of course, the word ‘podium’ was not mentioned, but I believe that in order to make it to the top team, you have to perform at that level, and I believe that he can do it,” Watanabe added.

However, it appears more than likely that Red Bull will actually give the impressive-in-2023 substitute Liam Lawson his full-time F1 debut at RB next year.

It coincides with rumors that Honda, given the looming end of its collaboration with Red Bull and RB, and the move to a new works partnership with Aston Martin for 2026, could see Tsunoda make the move too.

“I haven’t thought about it,” Watanabe insists.

“I’ve said to Yuki that I want him to do his thing without being tied down to Honda. Just because we are partnering with Aston Martin from 2026 does not mean that Honda-trained drivers have to go to Aston Martin.

“The important thing is that the drivers trained by Honda are successful, no matter what team they work for. But it would be great if we were on the same team,” he admits.

October 16, 2023 

(GMM) Yuki Tsunoda has moved to clarify rumors linking him with Lance Stroll’s seat at Aston Martin.

Rumors about the underperforming son of team owner Lawrence Stroll only intensified in Qatar when Lance, 24, violently shoved his own trainer after a fourth consecutive failure to even break out of Q1.

The FIA even launched a post-incident investigation into the affair, prompting a written apology from the Canadian driver.

“The compliance officer has noted this apology and issued a written warning, reminding Lance of his responsibilities as a competitor”, part of an FIA clarification reads.

Fascinatingly, the affair coincided with rumors that Aston Martin could be eyeing Japanese Tsunoda, who may be open to the move given his links with the team’s future works engine partner Honda.

Dr Helmut Marko has already said that Aston Martin would have to convince Red Bull to end Tsunoda’s renewed Red Bull-Alpha Tauri contract for 2024.

For his part, Tsunoda said: “I don’t want Red Bull to misunderstand and think that I’m focused on signing with Aston Martin or something like that.

“I’m an Alpha Tauri driver, I’ve been with Red Bull since I was 18, so I’m just focused on doing well at Red Bull. Not at Aston Martin,” he added.

#22 Yuki Tsunoda, (JAP) Alpha Tauri, Honda during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.
#22 Yuki Tsunoda, (JAP) Alpha Tauri, Honda during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.

Tsunoda, who lives near Alpha Tauri’s Faenza HQ, attended the Il Festival dello Sport in Trento at the weekend and was hailed by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“Yuki is an extraordinary guy, who managed to give the Japanese public a great boost,” he said. “Yuki’s merit is that, with his energy, he brought Japan closer to Formula 1.”

Tsunoda admitted that his F1 idols were “Raikkonen, Hamilton and Alonso”, and says he enjoys living in Italy a lot more than he enjoyed being in the UK.

“In England I had a different lifestyle – always at home, playing Playstation. In Italy I no longer burn my brain with video games,” the diminutive 23-year-old laughed.

“I also notice that I’m doing better on the track this way.”

When asked to name the fastest current driver in F1, he joked “Me”, before adding: “Verstappen.”

He said “Alonso or Sainz” are the most intelligent drivers, whilst “Fernando” is the smartest overall.

Tsunoda then said he would choose “Alex Albon, Lando (Norris) and Max” to go on holiday with.

“Verstappen is not as he appears, he’s a very nice guy,” the Japanese insisted.

“He was the one who made me discover some excellent gin and tonic on his private plane. I will forever thank him for this,” Tsunoda laughed.

October 6, 2023 

(GMM) Amid rumors Lance Stroll may be on the way out at Aston Martin, Yuki Tsunoda’s name has come up as his likely replacement

Even though he was recently named to Red Bull-owned Alpha Tauri’s next race lineup for the fourth consecutive year, Tsunoda is Honda backed and Honda is moving to the Aston Martin team in 2026.

Dr Helmut Marko told Sport1: “Tsunoda is under contract with us.

“If Aston Martin were interested in him next year, they would have to come to an agreement with us first.”

According to the big rumor swirling in the Qatar paddock, Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll has been approached by title sponsor Aramco, the state Saudi oil company, with a EUR 800 million team buyout offer.

It is said that billionaire Stroll may be losing motivation to keep investing in Formula 1 when his son Lance, 24, has underperformed alongside Fernando Alonso this year.

That would create a vacancy – and Japanese Tsunoda would appear to be the perfect replacement.

That’s because while he has been impressive at Alpha Tauri, 23-year-old Tsunoda is arguing more of a Honda-backed driver.

And Honda is switching from Red Bull’s two teams to Aston Martin for 2026.

Confirmation of Tsunoda’s 2024 Alpha Tauri deal recently was delayed, and it was rumored at the time that the hold-up was related to his Honda backing.

Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe has now confirmed that rumor.

“(Franz) Tost-san and I agreed that we would first take a close look at the project for three years, and then evaluate it together and have a discussion around the summer of the third year,” he told as-web.jp.

“Basically, there was a common understanding that he was an indispensable driver for Alpha Tauri. The reason it took so long to make the announcement was because we were working out the details.

“We were discussing various things about how Honda should support Alpha Tauri until 2025. About how it operates.”

When asked specifically about Tsunoda and Aston Martin, Watanabe added: “Our goal is to become number one in the world with Aston Martin after 2026, so we don’t want to let go of the pieces necessary to achieve that.

“I hope Tsunoda will grow up and become an essential piece for us by then. And I tell Yuki ‘It doesn’t matter where you go, you can go wherever you can win’.

“If we are a team that can provide that space, we would like the drivers to come. And if we are a bad Honda team, I don’t think they will want to come.”

Liam Lawson of New Zealand and Scuderia AlphaTauri prepares to drive in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on September 22, 2023 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
If Tsunoda moves to Aston Martin, a race seat will open up for Liam Lawson of New ZealandĀ  (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
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