It seems AlphaTauri is saying goodbye to Daniil Kvyat next season. Red Bull's sister team announced that Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda will be making his Formula 1 debut in 2021 in place of Kvyat following an impressive rookie Formula 2 season. More importantly, he will be the first Japanese driver to race in Formula 1 following Kamui Kobayashi in 2014.
“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. 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,” said Tsunoda.
What's impressive about Tsunoda is his rapid progress in motorsports. Before racing in Europe, he was exclusively competing in Japan, winning the F4 Japanese Championship in 2018. It wasn't after his F4 Japan win did he compete in the European FIA Formula 3 Championship, finishing 9th overall with three podiums and a win during the 2019 season. Tsunoda then graduated to Formula 2 this year; claiming seven podiums, two feature race victories, and a sprint race. He finished third overall driving for Carlin.
“Red Bull has been following Yuki’s career for a while now and I am sure he will be a great asset to our team. Watching him in Formula 2 this year, he has demonstrated the right mix of racing aggression and good technical understanding,” said Franz Tost, AlphaTauri Team Principal.
“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,” added Tsunoda.
With Tsunoda in, Daniil Kvyat will either be leaving Formula 1 or will become a reserve driver at AlphaTauri. There's no other seat available on the grid apart from one at Red Bull, but it is unlikely Kvyat will be chosen as Max Verstappen's teammate for next season.
What do you think of AlphaTauri's decision to sign the 20-year old Tsunoda instead of Daniil Kvyat? Let us know what you think in the comments below.