‘Yuki a high-flyer or Daniel so weak?’ – Helmut Marko ‘puzzled’ by Daniel Ricciardo

Jamie Woodhouse
Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo

RB's Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is perplexed by the struggles of Daniel Ricciardo, claiming “something never fits with him”, though it has also left question marks over how good Yuki Tsunoda actually is.

Red Bull retained Ricciardo and Tsunoda for F1 2024 at their rebranded second team RB, with progress expected working to the brief that RB must rely on Red Bull in every way that the Formula 1 regulations allow.

Red Bull struggling to judge Yuki Tsunoda due to Daniel Ricciardo

The strengthening of ties caused concern in the F1 paddock, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown the most vocal against it, though the resistance has quietened down with RB not coming flying out of the blocks as feared. And when it comes to the intra-team battle, Tsunoda has established control over Ricciardo.

The Australian Grand Prix, Ricciardo’s home race, marked a fresh frustrating outing for the eight-time Grand Prix winner, who was eliminated in Q1 and failed to score points, while Tsunoda opened RB’s account for the season with a P7 finish. Marko is “puzzled” by Ricciardo’s struggles.

“We’re all puzzled over that,” Marko told Laola1 in regards to Ricciardo’s poor form.

“He is generally slower than Yuki. Something never fits with him, which is surprising, because things looked very good for him in winter testing. But Yuki is clearly the faster one at the moment.”

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F1 2024 had been billed as a straight shootout between Ricciardo and current Red Bull driver Sergio Perez for a 2025 seat, but with Ricciardo not doing enough to prove himself worthy of a Red Bull return, could Tsunoda actually be nearing a call-up?

Now into his fourth Formula 1 season as part of Red Bull’s junior team, the 23-year-old could not be doing much more currently to convince Red Bull. However, in a rather gutting assessment for Ricciardo, Marko feels the Aussie is not the right driver to truly judge Tsunoda’s ability against.

Asked if Tsunoda is a genuine Red Bull seat contender, Marko replied: “You’d have to have another driver as a comparison.

“The question is: Has Yuki become a high-flyer or is Daniel so weak? There is no objective answer after three races on three completely different circuits.”

Ricciardo is in desperate need of a strong showing next time out at the Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka a track where he made the podium only once during his Red Bull stint back in 2017.

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