Marko: Tsunoda’s excellent F1 Australian GP performance “confirms that he is a mature driver”

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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Co-author: Chiara Martin

Renamed Visa Cash App RB heading into 2024, the team ended the two first races of the season at Bahrain and Jeddah with some disheartening results. The crew led by Laurent Mekies failed to score points at the start of the 2024 season

That came to an end as it was Tsunoda who brought the first points home for the team in Ricciardo’s home race on Sunday afternoon.

The Japanese driver drove a superb race that earned him 8th place in the final standings, 4 points that turned into 6 after Fernando Alonso’s 20-second post-race penalty. It included a stunning move on his good friend Pierre Gasly at a critical time in the race when Nico Hülkenberg was hounding him for position.

The performance by the 23-year-old caught the attention of Dr. Helmut Marko, who shared his insights when asked by Sky Deutschland in a post-race debrief, remembering he had praised the Japanese driver’s qualifying performance on Saturday, just 24 hours earlier.

“Yuki drove flawlessly during the first and second rounds,” Marko expressed.

“He was steady and was able to defend. He drove steady times. When Hülkenberg attacked, he was able to defend immediately. I think this confirms that he is a mature F1 driver.”

Tsunoda’s performance comes at a time when his, Sergio Perez’s, and Daniel Ricciardo’s positions are all under scrutiny as they constantly look at making changes and bringing in fresh talent. This evaluation has created a sense of uncertainty and intrigue regarding their future in the sport.

Asked about the Ricciardo’s performance, Marko conceded the 34-year-old is not in a great moment, whilst expressing that he hopes the team will provide Ricciardo with the tools he requires to be able to fight Tsunoda.

“He is struggling yes. We have to see what is going on. There were positive signs during testing in Bahrain. He was great. However, the past 3 races did not go in his favour.

“I think Daniel Ricciardo needs a car he can trust and feel safe with. I hope his team can give him that, so can at least reach up to Yuki again,” he concluded.

RB F1 has now jumped Haas in the standings, sitting P6 and two points ahead of the American-owned team.