Yuki Tsunoda has kept his place in the AlphaTauri team for 2023, despite being branded Red Bull’s “problem child”.
The Japanese driver will campaign for Red Bull’s sister team for a third straight season, it has been confirmed, as the driver line-up for next year continues to take shape. Tsunoda had a difficult first season in F1, blighted by crashes and furious radio rants. However, he has become more consistent in 2022, doing enough for Red Bull to keep him in their programme.
“As we’ve seen since he joined us last year, Yuki is a very talented driver and has improved a lot this season,” said AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost. “The pace he has shown recently is clear evidence of a steep learning curve, which proves he deserves a seat in F1, and I still expect some strong results from him in the last six races of 2022.
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“As I always say, a driver needs at least three years to fully get to grips with Formula 1, so I’m pleased he’s been given the time to show his full potential.”
However, that vote of confidence comes just months after Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko issued a less-than-complimentary verdict on Tsunoda. Back in June, the no-nonsense Marko revealed Red Bull had hired a psychologist to work with Tsunoda in a bid to calm him down in the car.
“We have organised a kind of psychologist to work with him, because he continued to rant in the corners, so that inhibits performance,” Marko said to Servus TV, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
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“We should keep our emotions in check. Thank God Max [Verstappen] is calm, our problem child in this respect, not only in this respect, is Tsunoda. He explodes on the radio, you wouldn’t believe it.”
The identity of Tsunoda’s teammate for 2023 is less clear-cut. Red Bull would be prepared to release Pierre Gasly from his contract, but only if they can find a suitable replacement. Red Bull’s attempt to place IndyCar star Colton Herta at AlphaTauri has been scuppered by the American’s shortage of superlicence points.
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