Yuki Tsunoda will get his first experience of driving a Formula 1 car in a test running with a 2018 car at Imola, AlphaTauri has confirmed.

The Honda-backed protege’s planned run at Imola is scheduled for 4 November, three days after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the former San Marino Grand Prix venue.

After his first taste of driving F1 machinery, Tsunoda will then take part in the post-season young driver test in Abu Dhabi in December, driving AlphaTauri’s 2020 challenger.

Tsunoda visited AlphaTauri’s Faenza-based factory on Wednesday to complete a seat fit in preparation for his maiden F1 test at Imola.

The 20-year-old Japanese racer has enjoyed a stellar rookie Formula 2 campaign and sits third in the championship heading into the final four races of the season in Bahrain, having won two races.

Red Bull is currently evaluating whether to promote Tsunoda to AlphaTauri’s 2021 F1 line-up after being impressed by his performances in F2.

Honda’s decision to pull out of F1 at the end of next season left a question mark over its young driver development programme - which is run in partnership with Red Bull - and the subsequent future of Tsunoda.

Speaking at the Eifel Grand Prix last weekend, AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost insisted that Honda's withdrawal will not impact Tsunoda’s chances of earning a graduation to F1 next year.

"Scuderia AlphaTauri has two fast drivers currently with Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat,” Tost explained.

"We will do the young driver test day with Yuki Tsunoda. And this has nothing to do with the decision from Honda that they will not continue after 2021.

"The philosophy at Red Bull is always the performance. And he performs well, and he's doing a really good job, in Formula 2, he has won two races this year, in Spa and Silverstone if I remember right.

"And in Austria he was leading the race in the wet until a few laps because of radio problems he couldn't win this race. He is doing a really good job, and this is decisive, the performance of the driver.

"And this was always the philosophy, and this will always stay like it is. And then we will see what Red Bull decides regarding the drivers for 2021."

 

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