Honda's F1 exit won't impact Tsunoda's future - Tost

AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost insists Honda’s decision to exit Formula 1 will have no bearing on the future of rising star Yuki Tsunoda, and he remains in contention for a 2021 seat.

Honda's F1 exit won't impact Tsunoda's future - Tost

Honda announced earlier this month that it would pull out of F1 at the end of next season, leaving the two Red Bull-owned teams without an engine supplier for the sport’s new era in 2022.

The Japanese manufacturer’s decision has also left a question mark over its young driver development programme, which is run in partnership with Red Bull and has featured the likes of Tsunoda, Nobuharu Matsushita and Tadasuke Makino over the years.

Prior to its exit, Honda had been keen on having a Japanese driver in F1 - the first since Kamui Kobayashi - and Tsunoda has emerged as its best bet on the back of a strong rookie campaign in Formula 2.

After graduating from FIA Formula 3 with a victory and a ninth place championship finish with the unfancied Jenzer team, Tsunoda has exceeded expectations in his first season in F2, scoring two wins and three further podium finishes in the opening 10 rounds of the championship.

This has put him third in the drivers’ standings behind points leader Mick Schumacher and second-placed Callum Ilott ahead of the final two rounds in Bahrain, well within the top-four result he needs to ensure he has enough Superlicense points to be eligible for an F1 drive in 2021.

The 20-year-year already has 14 points in his tally, 12 of which were scored courtesy of his title triumph in the Japanese F4 championship in 2018.

Honda’s impending exit could have potentially left Tsunoda without a chance of graduating to F1, but Tost insists that Red Bull will continue to evaluate the Japanese driver, and that AlphaTauri’s 2021 driver line-up will be based purely on results.

“Scuderia AlphaTauri has two fast drivers currently with Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat,' said Tost. "We will do the young driver test day with Yuki Tsunoda. And this has nothing to do with the decision from Honda that they will not continue after 2021. 

“The philosophy at Red Bull is always the performance. And he performs well, and he's doing a really good job, in Formula 2, he has won two races this year, in Spa and Silverstone if I remember right. 

“And in Austria he was leading the race in the wet until a few laps because of radio problems he couldn't win this race. He is doing a really good job, and this is decisive, the performance of the driver. 

“And this was always the philosophy, and this will always stay like it is. And then we will see what Red Bull decides regarding the drivers for 2021.”

Read Also:

Honda F1 chief Masashi Yamamoto also believes the marque's exit from the sport will not have "any impact" on Tsunoda's future.

“Personally, I don't think [Honda] leaving [F1] has any impact there,” Yamamoto said. “Red Bull don't just let anyone drive their cars. 

“They're going to be evaluating him strictly as their junior driver. And also, it depends on his Formula 2 results as well. We would back him up where we can."

Tsunoda will drive AlphaTauri’s F1 car during the post-season young driver test in Abu Dhabi in December.

Additional reporting by Luke Smith

shares
comments

Related video

FIA working on "back-up plans" to ensure Saturday action
Previous article

FIA working on "back-up plans" to ensure Saturday action

Next article

Revealed: Red Bull's trick front wing secrets

Revealed: Red Bull's trick front wing secrets
Load comments
Why 2022 could be Leclerc's best chance to end his Monaco F1 curse Prime

Why 2022 could be Leclerc's best chance to end his Monaco F1 curse

Charles Leclerc's ill-fortune at his home Formula 1 race is well-established. But his single lap pace and over longer runs during Friday practice will leave the Ferrari driver upbeat that he can make up for his Barcelona disappointment by finally recording a finish and perhaps even banking 25 world championship points in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix...

Formula 1
May 27, 2022
The inevitable consequence of the Liberty F1 popularity boom Prime

The inevitable consequence of the Liberty F1 popularity boom

Sell out crowds at Formula 1 races are the norm rather than the exception these days, as grand prix racing is enjoying a massive boom under Liberty Media. But the Spanish Grand Prix highlighted numerous issues some circuits may face as demand for F1 soars

Formula 1
May 26, 2022
The danger for Red Bull in its Barcelona F1 team orders choice Prime

The danger for Red Bull in its Barcelona F1 team orders choice

OPINION: Red Bull walked into a team orders saga on its way to taking a Spanish Grand Prix 1-2 last weekend, where it took the lead of the 2022 Formula 1 world championships for the first time. But its decisions have added an element of risk to later races.

Formula 1
May 25, 2022
Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed Prime

Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed

Mercedes' strong showing in last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix prompted team boss Toto Wolff to say it had halved its deficit to the leaders and its Formula 1 title chances were back on after a rocky start to the 2022 campaign. But a closer inspection of the team's performance suggests its gains aren't as grand as they first appeared

Formula 1
May 24, 2022
What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy? Prime

What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy?

From the 'pink Mercedes' to the 'Green Red Bull', the Silverstone-based team has received suspicious glares from up and down the Formula 1 paddock over its car design exploits. But after being cleared by the FIA over its Spanish Grand Prix updates amid a backdrop of cries of foul play, what's next in this saga?

Formula 1
May 24, 2022
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

In an unusually hectic Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was denied a dominant performance by his Ferrari engine letting go which allowed Max Verstappen to pick up the pieces. But numerous flashpoints kept the race twisting and turning throughout, with one perfect score from an emerging contender

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain Prime

How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari engine disaster offered an open goal for Max Verstappen and Red Bull to strike, but the reigning Formula 1 world champion still had to solve multiple errors and profit from a begrudged assist from team-mate Sergio Perez, which created an unexpectedly eventful Spanish Grand Prix

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari Prime

Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari

Formula 1's return to Spain on Friday ended with Ferrari leading the way from Mercedes, while Red Bull could only manage third fastest overall courtesy of Max Verstappen. But its chances of victory are far from remote with a deeper dig into the times despite Ferrari's strong start...

Formula 1
May 20, 2022