The launch – held at AlphaTauri‘s new showroom in Salzburg, and presented digitally – saw Red Bull‘s premium fashion brand model its Autumn/Winter 2021 collection together with the team’s new-look for the upcoming season.
After a successful first season racing in the AlphaTauri colours, the Italian outfit is looking to challenge the top of the ultra-competitive midfield in 2021, putting its faith in the new pairing.
Since debuting with the team in 2017, Gasly has earned two F1 podiums – including a spectacular maiden win at Monza in 2020 – meaning his experience with the team will allow him to step-up to a team leader role.
Joining the Frenchman will be 20-year-old Tsunoda, the first Japanese driver to race in F1 since 2014. His promotion to F1 comes off the back of a fast, four-season trajectory; from winning the 2018 F4 Japanese Championship and finishing third in the 2020 FIA F2 Championship to entering the top-level ranks this year. Expectations are high for his rapid style of learning to complement the experience of Gasly.
“The decision to go for Pierre and Yuki in 2021 was taken because AlphaTauri‘s philosophy is still to give talented young drivers from the Red Bull Junior Program the opportunity to step up to F1 and to educate them, this is why Yuki now gets his chance,” explained team principal, Franz Tost.
“With Pierre on Yuki’s side we have an experienced driver, who can help our Japanese rookie to develop faster, but at the same time we can aim for good results. I think this pair is the best possible scenario to achieve both our targets, and I’m also confident this will be a successful one.”
In 2020, AlphaTauri won best livery by a landslide, and the team’s new livery took centre stage with the drivers at the fashion event, anticipating the 2021 model that will debut on track at pre-season testing in Bahrain. The test is the precursor to an unprecedented 23-race schedule, and in preparation for the demanding calendar both drivers have spent time at Red Bull‘s Athlete Performance Center for intense fitness testing.
“I’m ready to take on the role of team leader,” said Gasly. “Yuki is a very quick driver, and he will help us move the team forward – we will work together to achieve that.
“I really believe last year was the team’s best in terms of the way it worked, the development,” he added, “the performance and the way it managed the race weekends. I’m always hungry for more, and I’m sure we can achieve great things in 2021.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with AlphaTauri ahead of the season,” said Tsunoda, “so I’m already developing strong relationships and learning a lot from them – including Pierre, who is an incredible talent. My main goal is to learn quickly and deliver results as soon as possible, and I’m really excited to get started.”