Japanese racing driver Yuki Tsunoda will replace Daniil Kvyat at Scuderia AlphaTauri next season, the Italy-based team announced on Wednesday morning.
This comes as over six weeks ago, Formula1News.co.uk revealed that Tsunoda would partner Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri in 2021 as long as he secures a Super Licence.
The Honda-backed driver, who will become the first Japanese driver to compete in Formula One since Kamui Kobayashi retired from the sport in 2014, has said he is looking forward to joining the grid and representing Japan.
“Like most racing drivers, it has always been my goal to race in Formula 1, so I am very happy with this news,” said Tsunoda.
“I want to thank Scuderia AlphaTauri, Red Bull and Dr. Marko for giving me this opportunity, and of course everyone from Honda, for all their support so far in my career, giving me great opportunities to race in Europe.
“I must also thank the teams that I have raced with to get to this point, particularly Carlin, with whom I have learned so much this year. I realise that I will be carrying the hopes of a lot of Japanese F1 fans next year and I will be doing my best for them too,” the 20-year-old added.
Meanwhile, Scuderia AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost said: “Red Bull has been following Yuki’s career for a while now and I am sure he will be a great asset to our team.
“Watching him in Formula 2 this year, he has demonstrated the right mix of racing aggression and good technical understanding. During the test in Imola in November when he drove our 2018 car, his lap times were very consistent over a race simulation, he progressed throughout the day and gave our engineers useful feedback.
“In addition, his integration with the Honda engineers has been seamless, which certainly helps. At the test in Abu Dhabi this week, he proved to be a fast learner and that he is ready to make the step to Formula One.”
Tsunoda tested a 2018-spec Toro Rosso at Imola several weeks ago and took part in the Young Drivers’ Test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The Imola test, combined with his P3 finish in the F2 standings, are enough for him to qualify for a Super Licence.