Tsunoda hits back at Red Bull ‘clone’ rumours

Amid the evolving and controversial partnership between the former Alpha Tauri team, now rebranded as RB, and its sister team Red Bull Racing, Yuki Tsunoda has addressed the heightened expectations for the 2024 Formula 1 season. With the teams now sharing facilities and technology more closely, including a dedicated building at Red Bull’s Milton-Keynes headquarters and a shared wind tunnel, there’s been speculation about the potential impact on RB’s performance. This speculation has been fueled further by both teams unveiling cars for 2024 that bear resemblances to the previously abandoned Mercedes car concept.

Despite these developments, Tsunoda remains grounded, stating, “Not much has changed from last year.” He acknowledges the technical shift to pull-rod front suspension, mirroring Red Bull Racing’s design, yet he emphasizes, “It hasn’t changed that much. The steering feels a little lighter.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Tsunoda’s teammate, also tempers expectations regarding immediate success, aligning with Tsunoda’s cautious optimism. Tsunoda explicitly addresses the notion that RB’s 2024 car is merely a carbon copy of Red Bull’s design, clarifying his position amidst circulating clips that suggest otherwise. “There are clips of me saying that a lot has changed, people are spreading that around, but I’m not saying that. And I’m telling people not to have high expectations,” Tsunoda asserts. He explains that a significant update introduced at the last race of the previous year was meant for the 2024 car, implying that the new car’s design isn’t as revolutionary as some might expect.

Tsunoda reassures, “Just because the team name has changed doesn’t mean the cars have changed that much.” He concedes that while there are similarities with Red Bull, especially in certain components and concepts, these collaborations are within the boundaries of the regulations. “That is all done within the regulations,” he emphasizes, distancing his team from any notion of dependency on Red Bull Racing. “We develop our own aerodynamics, so we are an independent team with no connection to Red Bull in that respect,” Tsunoda concludes.

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