The Scuderia Alpha Tauri Formula One Team announced on Wednesday that Yuki Tsunoda will race for the Italian team in 2021.

Tsunoda who took part in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday becomes the first Japanese driver to compete in Formula One since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014.

Speaking following the announcement, Tsunoda said:

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. 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 realise 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.

Scuderia Alpha Tauri Team Principal Franz Tost commented on the news saying:

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. During the test in Imola in November when he drove our 2018 car, his lap times were very consistent over a race simulation, he progressed throughout the day and gave our engineers useful feedback. In addition, his integration with the Honda engineers has been seamless, which certainly helps. At the test in Abu Dhabi this week, he proved to be a fast learner and that he is ready to make the step to Formula One.”

Tsunoda joins Pierre Gasly at the team for 2021.

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