Red Bull and Honda have stressed that the marque’s impending withdrawal from Formula 1 will not have an impact on Yuki Tsunoda’s prospects for a 2021 race seat at AlphaTauri.
Tsunoda is backed by Red Bull and Honda, with their junior schemes collaborating from 2019, and is an outside contender for the Formula 2 title in his rookie year.
Tsunoda holds third in the championship, with three pole positions and two victories, and is set to make his Formula 1 bow in the post-season Abu Dhabi young driver test.
AlphaTauri has yet to determine its driver line-up for 2021 and Tsunoda is understood to be a leading contender if the team opts to replace Daniil Kvyat.
Honda will exit Formula 1 at the end of 2021 but the respective parties say Tsunoda’s prospects have not been impacted by the decision.
“Scuderia AlphaTauri has two fast drivers currently with Pierre Gasly and Dany Kvyat,” said AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost.
“We will do the young driver test 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. He is doing a really good job in F2, has won two races this year in Spa and Silverstone if I remember right, he was leading the wet race in Austria until a few laps to go because of radio problems he couldn’t win this race.
“He is doing a really good job. This is decisive; the performance of the driver, this was always the philosophy, and this will always stay like it is, then we will see what Red Bull decides regarding the drivers for 2021.”
Honda Motorsports’ General Manager Masashi Yamamoto, speaking through a translator, added that “personally I don’t think our leaving has any impact there.
“Red Bull don’t just let anyone drive their cars, they will evaluate him strictly as a junior driver and also it depends on his Formula 2 results as well. We’ll try to back him up where we can.”