Yuki Tsunoda on brink of top Red Bull seat as star ascends

Yuki Tsunoda’s Formula 1 ascent is notably accelerating, as he emerges as a formidable contender for a prime seat at Red Bull, overshadowing earlier favorite Daniel Ricciardo. Tsunoda, a 23-year-old Japanese driver, is currently showcasing his skills at Red Bull’s junior F1 team, RB, where he’s outperforming Ricciardo, an experienced race victor, this season.

In an intriguing turn of events, Tsunoda’s performance is catching the eye, especially after his unexpected point-scoring feat in Melbourne, demonstrating his potential dominance as RB’s leading driver. Dr. Helmut Marko, a key figure at Red Bull renowned for his decisive role in driver selections, openly expressed his growing admiration for Tsunoda during an interview with Servus TV.

“He has the right speed and a very special character,” Marko praised, highlighting Tsunoda’s unique appeal and quick pace. “He doesn’t allow himself to be pigeonholed, and some people don’t like that very much. But what is decisive is the speed,” he elaborated, acknowledging Tsunoda’s distinctive character and impressive speed. Furthermore, Marko noted, “And I have also read that he is the big favourite among the young fans.”

Despite previous concerns about Tsunoda’s consistency and maturity, Marko’s critique seems to be evolving. “Tsunoda drives consistently good laptimes. When (Nico) Hulkenberg attacked him, he reacted immediately and pulled away by three seconds. The Haas is a fast car but Yuki was flawless all weekend. It is confirmation that he is absolutely a mature Formula 1 driver. That gives us confidence for the future,” Marko observed, signifying a shift in his assessment of Tsunoda’s capabilities following his performance in Melbourne.

On the other hand, Daniel Ricciardo’s star appears to be fading fast, with Marko acknowledging the Australian’s difficult phase. “Things haven’t gone so well for him (Ricciardo) in the last three races,” he commented, expressing hope for a turnaround. “He needs a car in which he feels safe and has confidence. I hope the team can give him that so he can at least be on a level playing field with Yuki,” Marko stated, emphasizing the need for Ricciardo to regain his form.

In addition to the intense competition between Tsunoda and Ricciardo, Marko expressed relief over the diminishing buzz surrounding the Christian Horner scandal and internal disputes within the team. “Calm has returned, but not for us in the race,” he mentioned, projecting a quieter atmosphere for the remainder of the year. “As long as we put together a car capable of winning, there is no reason for Max (Verstappen) to leave us,” Marko concluded, underscoring the team’s commitment to success. “He wants to win a few more world championships,” he added.


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