“My priority is Red Bull” — Tsunoda says RB F1 is his first choice for 2025 despite interest from other teams

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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Yuki Tsunoda has been starring with his excellent results since the start of the season, scoring important points, including his home race in Japan, for the RB team. And furthermore, outperforming his teammate Daniel Ricciardo by some margin — fourteen points and four positions in the Drivers’ Championship standings to be exact.

However, with Sergio Perez signing a two-year extension with the sister team Red Bull, it’s clear Tsunoda won’t rise in the ranks of the Red Bull family. Instead, he now waits to re-sign with RB or has to look for possibilities outside his current territory, talking to other teams.

“I kind of knew it before already,” the Japanese driver commented in terms of Perez’s contract. “And I mean, even though they said two years, you know, he still has to perform. And in this kind of environment, anything can happen.”

“So yeah, congrats to him. And other than that, for me, [it’s] just keep focusing on what I’m doing and proving myself.”

Linking to his performance on the track, Tsunoda said that the “team is definitely happy with me, which is all that counts”, suggesting RB isn’t the only squad taking notice of the young talented driver. For him, this is basically the first time he had “this much” attention and interest from other teams, and added it’s undoubtedly “a good thing” for him as it grants him a better position in negotiations.

In the end, even with ongoing discussions, Tsunoda wants to sign a contract “as soon as possible”.

“I think this year has been a lot more different, a lot of different situations I would say. And the good thing is that I also got a couple of options from the others, which is a good thing, that I’m able to grow my value as well.

“And at the same time, you know, especially [with] an interesting driver’s market like this, you know, I wanted to for sure make myself secure to focus for the rest of the races.”

He continued with setting his preferences straight, stating he wants to stay in the Red Bull family as they have been a key part of his career since he started racing in Europe.

“And now definitely, first of all, [my] priority is Red Bull, [to] make sure we’re on the same page because Red Bull is part of my life so far. And without them, you know, we wouldn’t achieve this much.”

Tsunoda has been with RB, formerly known as AlphaTauri, since his Formula 1 debut in 2021, previously being a part of the Red Bull junior team. He obviously has quite a long history with the company and doesn’t plan on making any shock switches in the near future.

The remaining question is if Red Bull is showing the same approach towards him. Always having only a one-year extension with RB, it may be good to see a multi-year contract on the table, though there are other priorities as well.

“Depends with multi-year [contract], but yeah, I would say I would like to see more commitment from them in the contract. Obviously, I’m already committing a lot with Red Bull, and hopefully I can have a bit more commitment from them.

“But, yeah, I mean, we are happy. We’re all happy with the Red Bull family and maybe this year is kind of an interesting year, having a bit of value from other [teams] will hopefully make a little bit of flexible room to negotiate something with them.”

“[There are] ongoing discussions and [we have to] make sure, first of all, [that] we’re on the same page with Red Bull and after that, see how it goes.”

If Tsunoda wanted to change teams after all, “there are definitely” some contractual obligations in his current relationship with RB. Though, as he already mentioned, his loyalty stays with Red Bull, especially now that he feels confident about his results and position in the team and on the drivers’ market.

“[This is] the best season for life so far, but it will come more [in] the future. So, I mean, I’m not really rushed,” he expressed his opinion on the fact that even though he’s doing a great job right now and Perez is kind of struggling, the Mexican has now secured the second Red Bull seat alongside Max Verstappen till 2026.

“And like I said, I think other teams started to get interested in me, which is a good thing. [I] just have to grow more and at the same time, hopefully then Red Bull will understand more or see my proper potential performance and maybe [it] can change in the future.”

Helmut Marko, consultant and advisor at Red Bull, mentioned ahead of the start of the Canadian Grand Prix that he’s quite sure Tsunoda will get the contract he wants with RB, just affirming the claims that it’s the Japanese driver’s first choice.

“I mean, Red Bull is always the first option. And, I mean, I didn’t sign anything yet. But it’s like I said, it’s an ongoing discussion, and I’m happy with the Red Bull car.

“So, we just have to make sure we’re all aligned. But yeah, with this current performance in the [team], there’s not much reason to go outside [to other teams].”

The words of the senior and respected member of the Red Bull group also motivated Tsunnoda, as he’s “definitely feeling more supported” by Marko, because in his previous years, the negotiations were most likely much more unnerving and unsure.

“Normally it’s coming [at the] end of the season, which added a lot of age, to be honest. That was a tough last three years,” Tsunoda agreed that his extensions usually weren’t discussed this early.

“But it’s a bit different this season. So, it’s good. And it means I can commit more. And yeah, hopefully these things will come out clear in any way,” he concluded.

In summary, although Tsunoda didn’t sign anything yet, his goals and priorities are set on RB and potentially the more successful sister team in the future.

At the same time, he would like to see more interest and commitment from their side, which is something his improved performance can certainly secure him.