Oct.6 (GMM) Amid rumours Lance Stroll may be on the way out at Aston Martin, a potential contender to replace him has already emerged.
It is Yuki Tsunoda, despite the fact that he was recently named in Red Bull-owned Alpha Tauri’s next race lineup for the fourth consecutive year.
Dr Helmut Marko told Sport1: “Tsunoda is under contract with us.
“If Aston Martin were interested in him next year, they would have to come to an agreement with us first.”
According to the big rumour swirling in the Qatar paddock, Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll has been approached by title sponsor Aramco, the state Saudi oil company, with a EUR 800 million team buyout offer.
It is said that billionaire Stroll may be losing motivation to keep investing in Formula 1 when his son Lance, 24, has underperformed alongside Fernando Alonso this year.
That would create a vacancy – and Japanese Tsunoda would appear to be the perfect replacement.
That’s because while he has been impressive at Alpha Tauri, 23-year-old Tsunoda is arguing more of a Honda-backed driver.
And Honda is switching from Red Bull’s two teams to Aston Martin for 2026.
Confirmation of Tsunoda’s 2024 Alpha Tauri deal recently was delayed, and it was rumoured at the time that the hold-up was related to his Honda backing.
Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe has now confirmed that rumour.
“(Franz) Tost-san and I agreed that we would first take a close look at the project for three years, and then evaluate it together and have a discussion around the summer of the third year,” he told as-web.jp.
“Basically, there was a common understanding that he was an indispensable driver for Alpha Tauri. The reason it took so long to make the announcement was because we were working out the details.
“We were discussing various things about how Honda should support Alpha Tauri until 2025. About how it operates.”
When asked specifically about Tsunoda and Aston Martin, Watanabe added: “Our goal is to become number one in the world with Aston Martin after 2026, so we don’t want to let go of the pieces necessary to achieve that.
“I hope Tsunoda will grow up and become an essential piece for us by then. And I tell Yuki ‘It doesn’t matter where you go, you can go wherever you can win’.
“If we are a team that can provide that space, we would like the drivers to come. And if we are a bad Honda team, I don’t think they will want to come.”