Oct.16 (GMM) Yuki Tsunoda has moved to clarify rumours linking him with Lance Stroll’s seat at Aston Martin.
Rumours about the underperforming son of team owner Lawrence Stroll only intensified in Qatar when Lance, 24, violently shoved his own trainer after a fourth consecutive failure to even break out of Q1.
The FIA even launched a post-incident investigation into the affair, prompting a written apology from the Canadian driver.
“The compliance officer has noted this apology and issued a written warning, reminding Lance of his responsibilities as a competitor”, part of an FIA clarification reads.
Fascinatingly, the affair coincided with rumours that Aston Martin could be eyeing Japanese Tsunoda, who may be open to the move given his links with the team’s future works engine partner Honda.
Dr Helmut Marko has already said that Aston Martin would have to convince Red Bull to end Tsunoda’s renewed Red Bull-Alpha Tauri contract for 2024.
For his part, Tsunoda said: “I don’t want Red Bull to misunderstand and think that I’m focused on signing with Aston Martin or something like that.
“I’m an Alpha Tauri driver, I’ve been with Red Bull since I was 18, so I’m just focused on doing well at Red Bull. Not at Aston Martin,” he added.
Tsunoda, who lives near Alpha Tauri’s Faenza HQ, attended the Il Festival dello Sport in Trento at the weekend and was hailed by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.
“Yuki is an extraordinary guy, who managed to give the Japanese public a great boost,” he said. “Yuki’s merit is that, with his energy, he brought Japan closer to Formula 1.”
Tsunoda admitted that his F1 idols were “Raikkonen, Hamilton and Alonso”, and says he enjoys living in Italy a lot more than he enjoyed being in the UK.
“In England I had a different lifestyle – always at home, playing Playstation. In Italy I no longer burn my brain with video games,” the diminutive 23-year-old laughed.
“I also notice that I’m doing better on the track this way.”
When asked to name the fastest current driver in F1, he joked “Me”, before adding: “Verstappen.”
He said “Alonso or Sainz” are the most intelligent drivers, whilst “Fernando” is the smartest overall.
Tsunoda then said he would choose “Alex Albon, Lando (Norris) and Max” to go on holiday with.
“Verstappen is not as he appears, he’s a very nice guy,” the Japanese insisted.
“He was the one who made me discover some excellent gin and tonic on his private plane. I will forever thank him for this,” Tsunoda laughed.