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Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda on new Perez deal: I wouldn't say I'm happy

Yuki Tsunoda has provided an update on his Red Bull future after the team made the decision to hand driver Sergio Perez a contract extension.

Perez and Tsunoda
To news overview © XPB

Yuki Tsunoda believes that Sergio Perez is deserving of his new Red Bull contract extension, but admits that wouldn't go as far to say he was happy to learn the news.

Tsunoda, a Red Bull young driver, is now into his second season with sister team AlphaTauri, and joins Pierre Gasly, Juri Vips and Liam Lawson in holding aspirations to one day drive for the main outfit.

But with Perez now tied down to a contract that will run until at least to the end of the 2024 season – and with Max Verstappen having signed to remain with the squad until 2028 – Tsunoda has been forced to accept that his earliest chance to drive a Red Bull would come no earlier than 2025.

"I am really focusing on what I have to do now but, at the same time, I think Checo deserved his extended contract and that seat," Tsunoda told media, including RacingNews365.com, over the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend.

"I wouldn't say I'm happy. Especially being at Red Bull and AlphaTauri, it's two close teams and [Red Bull] are a team I am challenging [to drive for]."

Tsunoda: I haven't heard much about next year

Tsunoda is out of contract at the end of the 2022 season, but has had an impressive start to 2022 that has seen him outscore Gasly.

"I am happy with AlphaTauri, with the people I am working together with. I am getting more used to the team and getting more communication with the whole team," he continued.

"The whole team is facing in the same direction and we're enjoying it. I am happy where I am now. I didn't even think about another team, I wasn't even thinking much about Red Bull!

"I haven't heard much about next year, yet. I am just focusing on what I have to do now which is to score as much as possible. We'll see."

Pressure over seat not a concern for Tsunoda

The biggest threat to Tsunoda's F1 future comes from the junior categories, where Lawson and Vips are amongst the talented Red Bull youngsters vying for a place in motorsport's top tier.

Jehan Daruvala, Dennis Hauger and Ayumu Iwasa will also be out to prove they have what it takes to make the step up as AlphaTauri thrash out their 2023 plans.

But Tsunoda is not concerned, content with what he has shown during both his time in F1 and F2 since joining the Red Bull stable.

"There is not much pressure on me, to be honest," he added.

"I think I was performing well compared to the F2 driver in the field currently."

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