AlphaTauri driver tipped to replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull

Yuki Tsunoda made his F1 debut in 2021 (Photo: Getty)

Yuki Tsunoda has been tipped to join Red Bull and replace Sergio Perez – but not until the latter’s contract expires.

Red Bull are the team to beat at the moment, with a commanding lead in the constructors’ championship, while Max Verstappen and Perez sit 1-2 in the drivers’ standings.

They have cruised to victory in the first three races of the season, with the no one able to come close to the raw speed of the RB19.

With all that being said and done, there is speculation over the future of their driver line-up, with Verstappen previously saying he could walkaway from Formula 1 when his deal expires in 2028.

However, the two-time world champion recently made comments suggesting that date could be moved up based on tweaks the sport could be making to its format this year.

The 25-year-old said: ‘I’m happy with just the main race. I think that’s way better for the excitement. I naturally, of course, hope that there won’t be too many changes otherwise I won’t be around for too long.’

More pressingly, Perez’s contract is up next year which time he’ll be 35, and while things have calmed down a bit, there is some tension between the Mexican and his teammate.

Sergio Perez’s Red Bull contract is up in 2024 (Photo: Getty)

Many do not expect Red Bull to extend his stay at the team beyond 2024, but the question then turns to who could take his seat, with Tsunoda, who drives for Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri, one of the prime candidates.

Red Bull use AlphaTauri, formerly known as Toro Rosso, as a way to train up drivers so they can race for the F1 frontrunners, with Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel among those who were promoted from the sister team.

22-year-old Tsunoda has driven for them since 2021 and team principal Franz Tost believes he will be ready to make the leap forward in time to replace Perez, whilst also dropping a hint of the Japanese star’s future, with his own contract up at the end of this season.

Tsunoda scored his first point of 2023 in Australia (Photo: Getty)

‘As far as I know, Sergio Perez still has a contract for next year,’ Tost said.

‘All I can say is that Yuki is on the right track. He has improved in every respect.

‘But I think he should drive at AlphaTauri again in 2024. In 2025, I think he will finally be ready for Red Bull.’

Tsundo finished 11th in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia but managed to sneak into the top 10 in Australia to score his first point of 2023, results that don’t sound great but Tost assures are not down to the driver.

He added: ‘Yuki drove two extremely strong races so far. I am very happy with him. It’s not his fault that we aren’t competitive yet.’

The F1 season continues on 30th April with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

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