“That’s already taken by Sergio Perez” – AlphaTauri debutant Yuki Tsunoda has revealed the number chosen for his F1 career, inspired by a former world champion.
F1 drivers, since 2014, carry a number with themselves that stays on throughout their career. Yuki Tsunoda, the AlphaTauri recruit, wanted 11 for the same, the number for his karting career. But the Mexican Sergio Perez already has that number, as he prepares for his own debut with sister team Red Bull.
— 角田裕毅/Yuki Tsunoda (@yukitsunoda07) February 19, 2021
So, Tsunoda has doubled the number to 22, inspired by the former champion Jenson Button and ex-driver Takuma Sato. He could choose this number as both Button and Sato have been inactive in F1 for over two years now. Interestingly, this was also the number Lewis Hamilton carried when he won his first title back in 2009.
“My number, when I was racing in karting, was 11, but in F1 that’s already taken by Sergio Perez. So, I doubled it to become 22, which I also like because it was the number of Jenson Button – a driver I respect a lot – when he won the Formula 1 world championship in 2009. It’s also a number used by Japanese driver Takuma Sato.”
Yuki Tsunoda excited for F1 debut with AlphaTauri
Tsunoda put in impressive performances in Formula 2, allowing him to move to F1, with the backing of Honda. AlphaTauri finished P7 overall, and along with Pierre Gasly, would be looking for improved performances. The team won a race last season, courtesy Tsunoda’s French partner.
“My main goal for this season is to learn quickly and deliver results as soon as possible. I must always do the best I can and then we will see how the season plays out.”