RB F1 CEO Bayer: Tsunoda has taken a “step forward pace-wise and mentally” in 2024 F1 season

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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Peter Hardenacke of Sky Germany caught up with Peter Bayer, the CEO of RB F1, following a memorable Japanese Grand Prix, where Yuki Tsunoda’s performance captivated his home crowd.

Bayer couldn’t hide his enthusiasm, applauding Tsunoda for securing points in his home race, powered by a Honda engine. This achievement marked a significant moment, being the first Japanese driver since 2012 to score points in their home race — Kamui Kobayashi finished on the podium that day.

“A great success for the team,” Bayer remarked, highlighting the collective effort behind this achievement. He commended the pit crew and emphasised the importance of their contribution. “We earned those points… the team is celebrating as if we won,” Bayer added, acknowledging the stiff competition in the midfield and the hard-fought battle that led to this outcome.

The spotlight was firmly on Tsunoda throughout the weekend, with fans eagerly seeking moments with the young driver. Despite the immense pressure and attention, Tsunoda’s focus never wavered. “Everyone wanted to meet him, take selfies with him, talk to him. He was able to stay focused for the race. He came a long way,” Bayer observed, praising Tsunoda’s ability to maintain his composure and deliver under pressure.

Reflecting on Tsunoda’s journey and growth, Bayer noted the driver’s significant progress over the last six months. “We spoke about it often. He’s been going upwards over the last six months, is focused and concentrated. He’s been going forward and is looking strong. Pace-wise and mentally, he took a step forward. He transitioned from a teenager to an adult. He’s delivering great results,” Bayer highlighted, underscoring the maturity and development the Japanese driver has shown both on and off the track.

As for the future, the possibility of the 23-year-old moving to a seat at Red Bull has been a topic of speculation. Bayer shared that Helmut Marko, the motorsport advisor for Red Bull, has yet to make any definitive decisions. However, Tsunoda’s continuous improvement and impressive performance have certainly made him a more appealing prospect.

“Helmut Marko has spoken about this and said that he won’t be making any decisions yet, but I believe that Yuki’s steady push forward will shed a positive light onto him, making him interesting to the teams,” Bayer explained.

Tsunoda sits in P11 in the Drivers’ Championship on 7 points, with RB F1 3 clear of Haas in P6 in the Constructors’ Championship.