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How $10 Million From Honda Saved Yuki Tsunoda From Getting Axed for Liam Lawson

Aishwary Gaonkar

How $10 Million From Honda Saved Yuki Tsunoda From Getting Axed for Liam Lawson

Yuki Tsunoda may be a Red Bull Academy graduate, but his real backing comes from Honda. Many insiders highlight how Honda pays a significant sum of $10 million as sponsorship for the 24-year-old which has also helped Red Bull and its sister team V-CARB (formerly AlphaTauri). Last year, Tsunoda’s seat at the Faenza outfit was at risk, with Liam Lawson doing extremely well and putting Red Bull in a fix. However, the Honda backing saved Tsunoda, earning him a one-year extension.

F1 journalist Scott Mitchell-Malm spoke about the same on the The Race F1 podcast, highlighting the nuances of Honda’s support for Tsunoda.

“Lawson did such a good job as a stand-in well that Marko got excited about him in full time. But Honda came in at the last minute and I understand basically upped the financial contribution that they make in having Tsunoda in that seat”. 

Many argued how Lawson was equally deserving of getting a full-time seat at V-CARB after his brilliant stint as a stand-in driver in 2023. However, Tsunoda’s performances have been improving. On top of that, Honda pushing his case and increasing their sponsorship commitment certainly swayed the pendulum in the Japanese driver’s favor.

Cut to 2024, Tsunoda has started his season exceptionally well, with multiple points-scoring finishes in an underwhelming V-CARB car. So much so that only nine races in, the 24-year-old has got a contract for next season.

Now, 2025 being Honda’s last year of association with Red Bull, it poses the question of what happens to Tsunoda after the Japanese manufacturer joins hands with Aston Martin. While there are rumors linking him with a move to Aston, Tsunoda has performed quite well to retain his place in the Red Bull stable on merit.

How Yuki Tsunoda can write his own destiny in F1

From being a “Honda-backed driver” to being sought-after by many teams aside from Red Bull, Tsunoda has come a long way since his debut in F1. His performances in his first two seasons were certainly under par and the expectations set due to the hype around him coming through the junior ranks.

However, since 2023, Tsunoda has pulled up his socks and become a leader at the Faenza-based outfit. While his teammates have changed several times, the #22 driver has not let his guard down and consistently delivered the best possible results.

Mitchell-Malm labeled Tsunoda as the second-best driver in the Red Bull setup currently after Max Verstappen. Now, the Milton Keynes-based outfit has not considered him fit for a promotion but Tsunoda may end up forcing their hand if he keeps improving.

Other teams could also have a look at him, including Aston Martin, who could be swayed by Honda’s arrival too. However, with Fernando Alonso having signed for at least two more seasons and Lance Stroll having a rolling deal, Honda can’t guarantee him a place at the Silverstone-based outfit.

Post Edited By:Somin Bhattacharjee

About the author

Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar


Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

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