AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda will remain with the team for another season after penning an extension through the 2023 Formula One campaign.

The Japanese driver, who joined the Italian outfit at the start of 2021, has spent two years alongside team-mate Pierre Gasly, earning 32 points last term and 43 to date.

He also posted his best race result with fourth place at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, though he has struggled for form this year, with no top-10 finish since the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

Amid suggestions Colton Herta could have made the move to the team for next year however, AlphaTauri have shown faith in the 22-year-old with a fresh deal.

"I want to say a huge thank you to Red Bull, Honda and Scuderia AlphaTauri for continuing to give me the opportunity to drive in F1," Tsunoda stated

"Having moved to Italy last year, to be closer to the factory, I really feel part of the team and am glad that I get to carry on racing with them in 2023.

"Of course, our 2022 season isn't over yet and we're still pushing hard in the midfield battle, so I’m fully focused on finishing it on a high and then we will look forward to next year."

Tsunoda's renewal locks out AlphaTauri's lineup for next year, with Gasly also retained, as F1 prepares for a record 24-race calendar next season.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz are among five drivers set to receive grid penalties for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, joining Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes confirmed on Thursday that Hamilton would be subject to penalties after taking a fourth power unit of the season, the seven-time world champion to start from the back of the grid having taken a new engine component everywhere barring control electronics and energy store.

Red Bull duo Verstappen and Perez will face penalties for exceeding their allocations of internal combustion engines, Verstappen now on his fifth, landing a five-place penalty, and Perez on his fourth, resulting in a 10-place penalty.

Ferrari's Sainz will receive an 20-place penalty after taking new gearbox components and an energy store, while AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda will add to his penalties with an array of new power unit components, having already been given a 10-place penalty for accumulating five reprimands over the course of the season.

Finally, Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas will join former team-mate Hamilton and Tsunoda at the back of the grid after taking new engine components.

Ahead of Friday's practice session, a minute's silence was held following the passing of the Queen on Thursday and all 10 teams posted messages on their social media channels after the news was announced.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes Yuki Tsunoda's mid-race stoppage at the Dutch Grand Prix may have cost Lewis Hamilton a shot at victory over Max Verstappen.

The Briton looked on course for a first win of a difficult season, having seldom been near the pace of his Red Bull rival following last year's enthralling title battle.

But a virtual safety car stoppage for Alpha Tauri's Tsunoda two-thirds into the race handed Verstappen a free pit stop, before a physical safety car later on allowed the world champion to make another change and overtake Hamilton.

Tsunoda stopped his car after reporting issues with his tyres, removing his safety belts before being ordered to drive back to the pits. His belts were checked and he drove for four more corners, before being told to stop again by his team.

Hamilton was ultimately forced to settle for fourth, behind Verstappen, team-mate George Russell and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner suggested the stoppage of Tsunoda had no effect on the outcome of the race, but Wolff felt the decision to send the Alpha Tauri – Red Bull's sibling team – back out likely cost Hamilton.

"If we were to fight for a championship, that would be something I would closely look at," he stated when asked if the FIA should review the incident.

"Now, I think what needs to be investigated for the safety of drivers and everybody out there.

"The driver stopped, unbuckled, did a full lap, came in, the problem wasn't solved, they put the seatbelts back on and he drove out and stopped the car again.

"That probably has changed the outcome of the race that we maybe could have won.

"I think we would have had a fair shot at the win. The race planner said the win was on. It was very close, but it was on."

 

 

Red Bull are attempting to secure a Formula One licence for IndyCar driver Colton Herta, to allow him to succeed Pierre Gasly in their AlphaTauri team next year.

The Austrian motorsport giants, who boast Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez as the main drivers for their eponymous F1 lead team, face a battle to gain an exemption as the 22-year-old Herta does not have enough points to qualify under the FIA's system.

Gasly, who took AlphaTauri's first win at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, is wanted by Alpine to succeed Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso.

Herta is the preferred replacement, though the task of convincing the FIA – motorsport's world governing body – to allow his move may be a tough challenge

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is hopeful of securing a licence, telling SpeedCity Broadcasting on SiriusXM he believes there should be an answer before the Italian Grand Prix next weekend.

"We looked at the regulations, we discussed it with the FIA," Marko said. "So it's nothing unreasonable. He won seven IndyCar races and that's comparable to a grand prix I think, so it would be a shame if he wouldn't get a super-licence."

Herta enjoyed a two-day testing session with McLaren in July, when he said: "It was different from anything I have ever driven before, but it felt pretty seamless."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said no departure for Gasly would be sanctioned unless AlphaTauri could secure Herta for next year.

"We just need clarity which will hopefully come sooner rather than later, because it holds a key role in the driver merry-go-round," Horner said, quoted by the BBC.

"If the option is not there, the other triggers will not come into play. He is an exciting talent, a young American guy who has been a stand-out talent in the US.

"It will be very interesting to see how he performs in F1. To have a successful US driver could be very interesting.

"Pierre is doing a good job in AlphaTauri. There would not be a desire to change if there was not an interesting option available."

The first domino in the Formula One driver market has fallen with Aston Martin's confirmation that Fernando Alonso will be driving for the team in 2023.

Sebastian Vettel's retirement announcement ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix was always going to lead to movement on the grid but Alonso's move from Alpine is a significant statement of intent from the Silverstone-based team.

Alpine are currently vying for the best of the rest tag in 2022, alongside McLaren, while it has been a year to forget so far for Aston Martin – but they still boast one of the most recognisable brands on the grid and Alonso is a stellar acquisition.

There will be further movement, with a number of teams yet to confirm their full driver line-up for the 2023 season – with Alpine, Haas, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri having one spot open, while Williams have not confirmed either driver.

That leaves six seats up for grabs as it stands, with some of the outcomes easier to analyse than others – Alonso's departure from Alpine solves their headache as it leaves a slot open for reserve driver Oscar Piastri.

The Australian was already heavily tipped to take a seat on the grid for 2023 but, with Esteban Ocon and Alonso at Alpine, just where that spot would open was up for debate, with a Williams move touted, but it should now be a fairly easy decision.

For Williams, it could result in the continuation of their partnership with Mercedes. With Alex Albon expected to retain his seat, a replacement for Nicolas Latifi is on the agenda and the leading option may now be Nyck de Vries.

Toto Wolff had already conceded that De Vries, who is on their young driver programme, could be let go in order for him to open avenues in F1, but a seat becoming available at Williams would be perfect for all parties – potentially lining-up De Vries as Lewis Hamilton's long-term successor.

Another option for Williams is Jamie Chadwick, who has dominated the W series and has her eyes set on a seat in F1, though she has expressed doubt as to whether women can cope with the physical demands of the series.

Seats at Haas, Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri are harder to assess but Mick Schumacher could play a pivotal role for the trio. Yet to be confirmed by Haas for 2023, the young Ferrari driver could make a sidewards move to continue his F1 career.

Given AlphaTauri's relationship with Red Bull, Alfa Romeo seems the more likely option for Schumacher if he was to depart Haas and an opportunity to drive alongside Valtteri Bottas could aid his development – though Alfa Romeo have a young talent of their own waiting in the wings in the form of Theo Pourchaire.

Felipe Drugovich, the runaway leader in F2 this season, and American Logan Sargeant are alternative options within the young driver ranks, while both have additional appeal due to their respective nationalities, Brazil and the United States, both of which are areas of growth for F1.

The break period in the F1 season is usually the time where teams line everything up for the next year, so the next few weeks before the season resumes in Belgium are likely to be extremely busy – and there could be some surprises in store.

AlphaTauri have confirmed Pierre Gasly's seat at the team for 2023 amid speculation he could depart.

The French driver is contracted with the team until the end of next season but, following Sergio Perez's two-year extension at Red Bull, questions on Gasly's fate emerged given his desire to return to the team in the future.

However, AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost has remained resolute, saying that Gasly was "100 per cent confirmed" at last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, and the team has now issued an official statement.

 "The 26-year-old Frenchman has been with us since 2017 and this continuity will be a great asset, as he enjoys an excellent working relationship with his group of engineers and everyone in the team," they said.

"Pierre is a proven race winner, with three podiums and three fastest race laps and to date, he has scored a total of 325 points in Formula 1. He has also developed a reputation as a very strong qualifier."

Gasly expressed his delight at the confirmation, stating: "I have been with this team for five years now and I am proud of the journey we’ve been through together and the progress we have made. 

"I’m happy to remain with my Scuderia AlphaTauri team. This year’s new regulations have created new challenges for us and being able to plan our development with the team for the next 18 months is a good working basis for the future."

Gasly has secured 16 points for his team this season following three top-10 finishes, the highest of which came with a sixth-placed finish in Azerbaijan.

Pierre Gasly believes Ferrari could be the team to watch in the 2021 Formula One season even though Mercedes are likely to finish "clearly on top".

The Scuderia managed just three podium finishes through Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel last year as they came sixth in the constructors' championship.

AlphaTauri were just 24 points behind them, their season buoyed by a remarkable grand prix win for Gasly in Monza.

However, testing ahead of 2021 has offered glimpses of a better future for Ferrari following their worst season in four decades. Carlos Sainz recorded the third-fastest time last Sunday in Bahrain, while he and Leclerc are each said to be happier with the handling of the car after problems with straight-line speed last year.

Gasly, who has spoken privately to Leclerc about Ferrari's progress, believes the team are keeping their cards close to their chest in terms of their progress during the off-season.

He told Stats Perform News: "I think Ferrari are kind of hiding and not showing too much. Compared to last year I think they are clearly better.

"I discussed it with [Charles] Leclerc after the test and we exchanged a couple of messages, talking but not too much, just trying to [laughing], have an idea!

"I think we are close to each other. I don't know if they are ahead of us or if we are slightly ahead. But they have clearly made a step forward. 

"I think McLaren seem to be a very strong opponent and competitor at the moment, especially with a Mercedes engine. They seem to have managed to put a strong package together.

"Then at the top, we will see what happens between Mercedes and Red Bull; it is very difficult to say and make any conclusion. Mercedes had a pretty difficult test, with some reliability issues, but we know how strong they are as a team so I wouldn't be surprised to see them clearly on top."

The new season begins in Bahrain on March 28.

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