Interview with Yuki Tsunoda (1): Training driver contract between Honda and Red Bull / The road to the birth of a Japanese F1 driver[]


Yuki Tsunoda, who has high expectations for the birth of a Japanese F1 driver, looks back on his career.

The last few years have been a turbulent season for Yuki Tsunoda. Within two years of moving to Europe, the challenge to FIA-F3 was only three years of single-seater experience, with little knowledge of the circuit.

With support from the Honda Formula Dream Project and Red Bull, Yuki Tsunoda was unobtrusive in the first half of the FIA-F3 rookie season, but adapted to a new continent and a whole new championship.

It was still difficult to know what to expect from Yuki Tsunoda at the time, but two years later he was at the center of the FIA-F2 title battle, with Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri Honda F1. We are at the forefront of rumors about the seat. He is renowned as one of the most talented young talents in motorsport, bold and aggressive, yet computationally and clever. He is the shortest driver on the grid at 160 cm tall, but he is more courageous than any other driver.

Born in Kanagawa, Yuki Tsunoda started go-karting at the young age of four. When my father asked me if I had four or two wheels, I didn’t hesitate to choose the former. At the age of 14 in Europe, he was restricted to Kurt until he was 16 due to Japanese age restrictions. However, he stepped up to the FIA ​​F4 Japan Championship and immediately won 3rd place. If they finished 1st and 2nd in this championship, they would be rewarded with a contract with Honda’s junior team.

“They were supposed to choose the first and second drivers,” recalls Yuki Tsunoda.

“Usually they do, but those drivers were more experienced than me and were already driving in F4. Satoru Nakajima, who was racing in F1, was in charge and signed with me to Honda. I wasn’t officially a full junior driver at first, though. “

Yuki Tsunoda spent another two seasons at the FIA ​​F4 Japan Championship in Japan, winning third and championship. Meanwhile, he was officially identified as Honda Junior. As a result, Honda-sponsored Hungaroring was tested for three days at Motopark, and Yuki Tsunoda won the seat in Europe.

But this wasn’t the only contract offered.

“Helmut Marko saw the results and decided to make me Red Bull Junior,” recalls Yuki Tsunoda.

“That test is one of the biggest moments in my life so far. If that didn’t work, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I think I was still in Japan.”

Red Bull and Honda had Yuki Tsunoda enter the FIA-F3, but it was a bet for Yuki Tsunoda to be held as a support race for F1 on the Grand Prix weekend.

“In Japan, I was confident in my performance and competitiveness, but I had never raced in Europe and had no experience,” admitted Yuki Tsunoda.

“Helmout was told that if he wanted to be Red Bull Junior, he had to be able to compete with other F3 drivers. He had to perform at a similar level and get results. did not”

“I was confident in testing with the Hungaroring because I was able to compare the data with other drivers, but I never actually drove on any truck.”

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Category: F1 / Yuki Tsunoda / Red bull / Honda F1 / Alpha Tauri


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