Tony D’Alberto’s future in the TCR Australia Series beyond 2022 is up in the air despite winning this year’s title for Honda.
The Wall Racing driver won this year’s crown in a tight contest that went down to the wire at the SpeedSeries season finale.
D’Alberto took the title at Mount Panorama by just nine points over Melbourne Performance Centre driver Will Brown.
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In the lead-up to the final event, D’Alberto told Wide World of Sports that securing sponsorship from Honda for the 2019 season had been a hard task.
Now, he’s facing a similar struggle with new personnel changes at the organisation and no guarantee that the Australian division of the Japanese manufacturer will support him.
“I had a pretty big chat [on Wednesday] with Honda to see where they’re at,” D’Alberto said on Stan Sport’s Pit Lane podcast.
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“They’re not sure just yet how their budget looks and what their direction is.
“They’ve had a few staff changes at the top. There’s some new people there that aren’t fully across what TCR is all about.
“I’ve probably got to go back to the drawing board a little bit and try and convince them that it’s a good thing to do.
“Obviously winning the title goes a long way and I’ve got a lot support in there.”
In any case, D’Alberto is keen to return and become the first driver to carry the hallowed No.1 on his car.
Brown was going to run No.1 on his car after winning the inaugural 2019 season. However, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, he did not race in 2020.
Chaz Mostert won the 2021 edition with Melbourne Performance Centre and opted not to run again in 2022, instead focusing on his Supercars program.
“Not sure just yet, but that is the plan with myself and Wall Racing to try and come back with the number one on the car,” said D’Alberto.
“No one has done that just yet and I’d love to be the first one. Fingers crossed. We’ll see how Christmas goes and what budget we can get together, but I’d love to do it again.”
D’Alberto’s title win marked the first touring car success since winning the Supercars second-tier Super2 Series in 2007.
The 36-year-old said he was “really proud” to win the title, having come up just short in 2019 where he was runner-up.
“Out of all the races or things I’ve won in the past, this one has been really hard to win,” he said.
“There’s a lot of great drivers, young guys, Bailey Sweeny has done an amazing job this year.
“Will Brown, who won the championship back in 2019, who I came second to. I said to Will, ‘come on, mate. Let’s share it around a little bit’.
“I think the competition is super tough and to come away with the win, I’m just absolutely stoked.”
The 2023 TCR Australia Series gets underway with Race Tasmania at Symmons Plains on February 24-26.
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