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Red Bull want “another driver comparison” before Tsunoda verdict

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has spoken about whether Yuki Tsunoda is being considered for a promotion to the main team. The 23-year-old is outperforming teammate Daniel Ricciardo, but the Austrian team is still far from making a final decision for the future.

Red Bull’s affinity for Daniel Ricciardo is well-established at this stage. The reigning Champions made a knee-jerk decision to bring the Australian back into Formula 1 at their first chance last season.

Even before competing directly against Tsunoda, plenty of expectations and excitement followed the 8-time race winner. However, the last eight months have not followed the script that many in Formula 1 expected.

Not only has Yuki Tsunoda been the faster VCARB driver, but by a significant margin. The Japanese driver has outqualified Ricciardo in every session so far in 2024. He also claimed RB’s only points (finishing P7) in Australia, pushing the team into 6th in the standings.

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Tsunoda and Ricciardo under scrutiny

Whilst Helmut Marko has been very complimentary towards the youngster, he is tentative about making any conclusions:

“We’re all puzzling about that. He’s [Ricciardo] generally slower than Yuki,” he told

“Something never goes right with him. Which is surprising, because the winter test went very well for him. 

“But at the moment, Yuki is clearly the faster one.”

When asked about Tsunoda’s chances at Red Bull, he continued:

“You would have to have another driver as a comparison. 

“The question is: Has Yuki become a high-flyer, or is Daniel so weak? There is still no objective answer after three races on three completely different circuits.”

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Plenty of new and already-established inferences can be drawn from Marko’s comments. First, Red Bull’s hesitancy regarding Yuki Tsunoda is hardly a new development.

Whilst the 23-year-old has steadily progressed, the Austrian team are still not confident he is ready for a main-team promotion. Despite his strong start to 2024, Christian Horner and Helmut Marko want a larger sample size.

In many ways, it seems that Tsunoda is being used as a benchmark to judge other drivers. First, it was against De Vries, and now it is against Ricciardo.

However, Marko’s analysis of Daniel Ricciardo is equally noteworthy. The 80-year-old is unsure about the Australian’s current form – and whether it speaks more about his teammate’s progress or his own deficiencies.

After just three rounds, Red Bull is still weighing its options. However, this doesn’t mean the inter-team battle at the Racing Bulls is of any less importance until the summer break.

To the contrary, every weekend is essential for RB. With F1’s clearly solidified top-five group, points for the bottom half of the field are like gold dust. With Liam Lawson still waiting for an opportunity, the pressure at the Racing Bulls won’t go away anytime soon.


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