Christian Horner says Yuki Tsunoda could soon replace Sergio Perez

Since Pierre Gasly departed AlphaTauri, it would appear things have finally started to click for Yuki Tsunoda.

Since Pierre Gasly departed AlphaTauri, it would appear things have finally started to click for Yuki Tsunoda.

The Japanese driver has installed consistency to his racing, granting him points for the second weekend running.

With a 10th-place finish in Baku, Tsunoda will be full of confidence heading into the Miami Grand Prix.

As for ex-teammate Pierre Gasly, consistency has been hard to come by. Alpine has been plagued with difficulties this season and appear far off their rivals.

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Gasly’s weekend in Baku was met with a fire during Friday’s practice and a subsequent 14th-place finish on Sunday – a major disappointment for a driver of his calibre.

For Esteban Ocon, the Azerbaijan Gran Prix was a near disaster. Pit lane starts on Saturday and Sunday ruled out the chances of competing for significant points. The driver was inches away from a fatal accident with the workers preparing the podium as the Frenchman pulled into the pits.

When speaking at a post-race conference, he stated:

“A crazy situation, really. Something we don’t want to see. I don’t understand why we were starting to prep the podium with one lap to go. We’re still racing in that pit lane. I’m arriving at 300kph, braking at the last moment, close to the line.”

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It wasn’t just a hard day for Alpine’s drivers, sporting director Alan Permane was sympathetic to the strain the Alpine mechanics endured over the weekend. The extra work put in was crucial to making sure Pierre and Esteban could race.

“They had a really gruelling Friday. The next thing they’ve got is a gruelling 14-hour flight to Miami. And some of them will be straight into work Tuesday morning. So I think how you recover from it, it’s not easy, especially going straight into another race,” Permane stated.

“Some people will have a day off on Tuesday, and will no doubt enjoy some sunshine and relax. But we’ll do what we can to get those people who have worked long hours here and will have to work Tuesday, to get them away on Wednesday and Thursday so that at least everyone gets a bit of downtime and time to have a meal and a pint out or something like that. Whatever people use for their recuperation.”

Alpine will be desperate to make an impact at Miami and rectify the poor form this season.

Christian Horner cautious in his praise for Tsunoda

The Red Bull team principal will be watching sister team AlphaTauri closely this season. When referring to AlphaTauri’s star man, Christian Horner stated:

“I don’t think he’s at our level, yet, but he’s making great progress.

“We’re seeing he’s maturing as a driver. He certainly has the speed and I think as he gains experience, I’m sure he’s going to become more rounded. He’s driven some strong races so far this year.”

Horner’s discretion is understandable. It wasn’t all that long ago when Gasly got the call-up, only to endure a torrid season and head back to AlphaTauri.

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Since then though, the pairing of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez has consolidated their claim as the team to beat. The Red Bull outfit and reigning champions have hit the ground running this season, fending off all competition.

With the chances of getting a seat at Red Bull near impossible (at this stage), an AlphaTauri stay for Tsunoda could prove record-breaking.

This year, Tsunoda will become AlphaTauri’s third longest-serving driver. If the young driver keeps his head down and capitalizes on this good start, 100 Gran Prix with AlphaTauri will seem achievable.