Yuki Tsunoda will return to AlphaTauri next year after earning a one-year extension on his deal.

The Japanese joined the Faenza-based team at the start of the 2021 season after spending one season each in Formula 3 and Formula 2 categories, impressing Red Bull bosses enough to garner a seat at AlphaTauri.

He has spent two years to date at the team alongside Pierre Gasly, netting 43 points in that time (32 of which were earned last season) with a career-best finish of fourth – claimed at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The rookie season at AlphaTauri was a mixed bag for Yuki Tsunoda who started brightly but his performances were marred by typical first-year mistakes and a lack of pace towards the end of the season.

The support of Red Bull’s partner Honda helped him keep his seat for 2022, a season in which he still trails team-mate Pierre Gasly, (11 points to Gasly’s 22), and has remained inconsistent with his last top-10 finish coming in May’s Spanish Grand Prix.

However, he has been aided by the fact that he may be AlphaTauri’s lead driver next season with the departure of Pierre Gasly to Alpine to replace Fernando Alsonso a real possibility. On top of that, no Red Bull junior driver has staked his claim for an F1 seat with the most likely of them already fired by the team.

All these reasons, coupled with the fact that AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost is happy with his learning curve allowed him to keep his seat for what will be F1’s biggest season yet.

With Colton Herta out of the picture, Nyck de Vries is the likeliest candidate to partner with Tsunoda next season.

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