As the Driver reported, despite Honda’s disembarkation, Cunoda Juki can still hope for a Formula 1 debut – in this case Kobajasi Kamui and we would see a Japanese driver on the grid for the first time since the 2014 season.
The Japanese junior, backed by Honda and Red Bull, is featured in Formula 2 this year, where he is third on the table with two Bahrain weekends before the end of the season and is guaranteed a F1 super license if he doesn’t finish behind fourth.
On November 4, after the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, Cunoda will be able to test at the wheel of the 2018 Toro Rosso on the Imola track, but it looks like the 20-year-old driver could play a bigger role: Motorsport.com and can also lead in free practice this year, and a debut in 2021 is not ruled out either.
When I would launch Cunoda in free practice is questionable, as he has to focus much more on Formula 2 in Bahrain, as he still has a chance at the championship title. A Turkish weekend would be a logical choice in terms of time, but since the Istanbul asphalt strip will be a novelty for the permanent couple, hardly any of their members will be set aside for 90 minutes, but the Abu Dhabi closing weekend may come into play.
As for the team’s lineup in 2021, team boss Franz Tost couldn’t provide much specifics. “We haven’t decided on our riders for next year yet,” he confirmed. “However, we will continue to follow the program we started with Juki: we had a session test with us last week, because after the race in Imola, the 300-kilometer test will take place.”
“It’s not decided yet, but we might plant it for a first free practice as well. Then we’ll see what happens in Bahrain, where F2 will also have two weekends, as where you finish in the league will matter for the super license. He will then take part in a test of young riders in Abu Dhabi, then Red Bull will decide who will be the AlphaTauri 2021 riders. ”
It was rumored that Cunoda might replace Danyiil Kvjat, while the Russian told Motorsport.com that he didn’t know about it, but would rather focus on the remaining six races because it could be important for his future.