The F3 race winner will graduate to F2 following an impressive debut in European racing

Carlin Racing have snapped up the highly rated Yuki Tsunoda for 2020, announcing the Japanese driver as their first addition of the new season.

Tsunoda is a member of the Red Bull Junior Team and the Honda Formula Dream Project and will make the step up following a promising rookie season in the F3 Championship.

Racing in Europe for the first time, the 19-year-old burst into life midway through the campaign, translating two points’ finishes from his first seven races, into seven from his next seven. This included three podiums, with his crowning moment coming in Monza, with an emphatic Sprint Race victory.

The Japanese driver’s impressive adaption to the European racing scene, on tracks which he hadn’t previously raced on, alerted those at Carlin to his talents. With Red Bull and Honda keen to pit Tsunoda in F2, Carlin offered him a post-season test drive at Abu Dhabi following the conclusion of the 2019 campaign.

Having enjoyed a successful test outing, Carlin have now moved to sign the young driver for the upcoming season.

“Honestly I was thinking I might be in F3 for another year,” Tsunoda began. “So, I’m very happy that people believe I’m capable of the step up. For sure it is going to be a tough year; new circuits, more power, bigger tyres, but then learning a lot during a race weekend is normal for me after 2019 and I’ve learnt so much as a driver.

“Thank you to Red Bull and Honda for supporting me next year; to support my dream to be a Formula 1 driver. I want to make some really good results for them to repay their trust and belief in me.”

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Tsunoda will be joining a team with race-winning pedigree. The British outfit were the 2019 Team Champions and have three victories to their name in F2, which will aid him in his step up and the challenge of racing on further unknown circuits.

“I’m happy to be joining Carlin” he continued, “Carlin is a great team; a lot of the good drivers have been here in this team and been on this path so I know that I follow in good footsteps and I know I will have a good experience.

“There are a few more new circuits to learn, particularly Monaco, which is going to be really cool for me. I just see from TV and YouTube how incredible it is, so to be racing there is going to be amazing and I’m looking forward to my first race around those famous streets.”

As well as F3, Tsunoda also competed in the EuroFormula Open Championship last year, where he achieved six podiums. Prior to racing in Europe, the Honda driver spent two years in Japanese F4, taking the Championship title in his second season, with seven wins and 11 podiums in total.

Speaking about his newest signing, Team Principal Trevor Carlin said, “We’re very excited to have Yuki join the team; we watched his performance in FIA F3 last year with great interest.

“His race performances were quite amazing especially considering it was his first year of international motorsport. We would like to thank Honda and Red Bull in trusting Yuki with us. We’re proud to continue our relationship with both and look forward to getting the season underway.”