One more seat on the 2023 Formula 1 grid is sealed: Yuki Tsunoda will remain at Red Bull Racing’s junior team, AlphaTauri, for one more season — effectively closing off one of the most hotly contested race seats during this year’s silly season.
That second AlphaTauri seat has been unofficially reserved for IndyCar’s Colton Herta; the team was keen on bringing the American driver over to Europe, but plans fell through as a result of Herta’s lack of super license points necessary to compete in F1. While there was talk that the FIA might be willing to bend the rules a little, that hasn’t proved to be the case. Now, Tsunoda will once again team up with Pierre Gasly for another season.
The fact that AlphaTauri is keeping Tsunoda is also telling in other ways. The driver has occasionally shown some stellar race craft, but that success has often been tempered by impulsivity and fiery moods. Tsunoda has been working closely with a sports psychologist to help keep his temper in check, and he’s admitted that he had to stop looking at I due to their impact on his mental health.
In his first season with AlphaTauri, Tsunoda finished 14th in the World Driver Championship with 32 points to his name while his more experienced teammate Gasly finished in ninth. This year has been far more difficult — Tsunoda has only scored 11 points so far thanks to a series of retirements or finishes outside of the top 10 that began in Monaco. With six races left in the season, he’s sitting in 16th in the Championship, while Gasly sits in 11th.
Of course, with the way this silly season has gone, we could have some driver stake a last-minute claim on a different seat based on a contract no one has ever heard of before — but I’m going to bet that both Gasly and Tsunoda will be more than happy to stay just where they are.