Continue with Honda or break free with Red Bull: Tsunoda faces his destiny in F1

In two years, Honda will power the Aston Martin team and will separate (for good) from Red Bull. Still supported by the Japanese firm, Yuki Tsunoda could end this collaboration in 2026... but his destiny remains linked to a place within the British team.

Published on 14/05/2024 à 17:18

Dorian Grangier

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Continue with Honda or break free with Red Bull: Tsunoda faces his destiny in F1

© Frédéric Le Floc'h / DPPI

He is one of the men in good shape at the start of the 2024 season: Yuki tsunoda impresses aboard the RB VCARB 01. The Japanese already has 14 points to his name after six Grands Prix, his best start to a campaign since his arrival in Formula 1, in 2021. In such a crucial season in the driver market, the protégé of the clan Red Bull causes a sensation – especially in the face of Daniel Ricciardo and his difficult start to the championship – and could already have convinced his superiors (or other teams…) to keep him in the discipline.

Yes, but here it is: the 2026 season is approaching and with it, a (false) dilemma will present itself to Yuki Tsunoda for his future in Formula 1: continue with the Red Bull family, or continue with the Honda clan? Remember that the Japanese engine manufacturer, linked with Red Bull since 2019 until 2025, will join forces with Aston Martin in 2026, in connection with the introduction of the new technical regulations planned for that year.

Honda before Red Bull?

Before being a product of the Red Bull fold, Yuki Tsunoda was first a driver discovered, supported and trained by Honda. In 2016, the native of Sagamihara graduated from the Honda Racing School before being supported by the Japanese brand in his rise to Formula 1. Some time ago, Koji Watanabe, the CEO of Honda, affirmed that the engine manufacturer hoped to “keep an eye” on his driver even when the separation between Red Bull and Honda is effective.

The main interested party, for his part, also hopes to continue working with Honda in the future, but knows that the transfer market could force him to distance himself from the Japanese firm. “I'm very happy to hear what they said [about my future]. I have worked with them since I was young, said Yuki Tsunoda. I was able to achieve what they wanted me to do: I became a Formula 1 driver [with] Honda. Without their support, I wouldn't be here. We have a special relationship between us, and I love their staff, they are very supportive. But at the same time, the driver market is a bit of a different story…”

Tsunoda « certain " that he will find Honda in the future

A contender for a Red Bull seat in the near future, Yuki Tsunoda's destiny could logically have headed to Aston Martin in 2026... but the recent extension of Fernando Alonso, and the permanent contract offered by Lawrence Stroll to his son Lance, closes this possibility for the moment.

“We need a seat available at Aston Martin if [Honda] is keen to support me in 2026, which means there's a good chance they'll want me in the Aston Martin... but we need a seat available, otherwise there is no chance, advance Yuki Tsunoda. If a seat [at Aston Martin] is not available, I have to think about different solutions: either stay with Red Bull, which would be good, or another solution. In this case, even if we are separated with different manufacturers, there will always be Honda in my head, and it is certain that at some point we will reconnect in the future, whatever happens. »

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Dorian Grangier

A young journalist nostalgic for the motorsport of yesteryear. Raised on the exploits of Sébastien Loeb and Fernando Alonso.

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Yves-Henri RANDIER

15/05/2024 at 12:20 a.m.

Will Honda put pressure on Aston Martin to remove the only intermittent from the show in F1 even if he has only one CDI on the grid? This is desirable if the Aston Martin Honda duo wants to win a world title...

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