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Helmut Marko gives verdict on Tsunoda-Ricciardo incident

Red Bull’s Helmut Marko believes the late-race incident surrounding Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo was avoidable.

There has been extensive coverage across F1 news outlets about the controversy between Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo. Despite the hype surrounding RB in pre-season, they made headlines in round 1 for all the wrong reasons.

At Franz Tost’s last race with AlphaTauri, he made a very critical complaint about the team.

The former team principal was furious with the team’s strategy, which he argued cost Tsunoda a better result.

While Helmut Marko did not display the same level of frustration in his comments, he reached a similar conclusion regarding the latest Racing Bulls dilemma.

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A missed opportunity

Heading into the final stages of the Bahrain GP, team orders were issued to the #22 car.

The Japanese driver was fighting for points in the first half of the race. Lance Stroll and Zhou Guanyu were his primary targets.

However, RB’s strategy saw Tsunoda fall victim to the undercut and lose track position.

Meanwhile, teammate Ricciardo gained significant time on his 23-year-old teammate in the final stint – thanks to running soft tyres.

This saw the two drivers fighting in track late in the race, with RB deciding that the Australian’s fresh tyres gave him a better chance to overtake Magnussen.

Marko’s verdict

According to Helmut Marko, it was the poor strategic calls from Laurent Mekies’s squad that created this dilemma.

“The drama could have been avoided,” he told 0e24.

“I spoke to Yuki afterwards. With the right strategy, he could have finished 10th.”

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Moving forward, the Faenza-based outfit will be tasked with resolving any lingering tensions between the garage.

Aside from the VCARB 01’s rather uninspiring performance, Bahrain proved that the team’s operational weaknesses from 2023 still remain.

In a field with a clear group of top-5 teams, efficiency is essential in the midfield pack.

Whilst there were no retirements in Sakhir, Stroll and Hulkenberg’s lap one contact gave the team a small window of opportunity.

Alongside updates to improve the car, RB must ensure they avoid the unforced errors committed in round one.

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