Yuki Tsunoda to Aston Martin hint dropped after Honda force Red Bull’s hand

The events surrounding Yuki Tsunoda’s contract renewal with AlphaTauri are an indication that the Japanese driver could be in line for a switch to Aston Martin once his time in the Red Bull set-up comes to an end.

The 23-year-old put pen to paper on a new, one-year contract extension ahead of his home race at Suzuka this weekend, joining fellow AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo in extending his stay with the Faenza-based outfit.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to fight and collaborate with the team and Daniel,” Tsunoda said after the announcement. “Obviously, I’ll push as much as possible for the rest of the season and beyond, to progress as a driver. I’m grateful for Red Bull and Honda, for continuing to support and believe in me, and very happy and thankful to continue the partnership.”

However, according to F1 journalist Lawrence Barretto, Red Bull were reportedly not as keen to renew Tsunoda’s deal as it appears on the surface. He reports that Honda representatives pushed the deal through with Red Bull having initially ‘put a halt on confirming’ his renewal.

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This backtrack from Red Bull has likely been sparked by the emergence of Liam Lawson, who scored the team’s best individual result of the season in just his third-ever Grand Prix in Singapore last time out.

Tsunoda had claimed 100 per cent of the team’s points until that stage, usurping Nyck de Vries during their short period as team-mates. However, Lawson’s displays may have taken the shine off the Japanese driver’s achievements from earlier in the campaign.

While the initial reaction to Tsunoda’s new deal will be that this is a deserved extension, the reluctance of Red Bull to sign him on for even a single year, combined with the influence that Honda exerted in keeping the 23-year-old with the team hints at what could be in store next.

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With Fernando Alonso entering the twilight years of his career and Lance Stroll’s performances proving a major cause for concern, Tsunoda is primed to make the switch from Faenza to Silverstone and join Aston Martin in the not-too-distant future. 

Honda have already agreed to enter an exclusive partnership with Aston Martin to supply their power units when the new technical regulations come into effect in 2026. That deal could see the Japanese engine manufacturer exert their influence again and promote Tsunoda as a viable replacement for Alonso or Stroll.

With the Red Bull prospects for the Honda-backed duo of Tsunoda and F2 frontrunner Ayumu Iwasa looking slim, it is likely that the legendary motorsport name will want one of those two involved in the Aston Martin project in some capacity.

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