Helmut Marko makes Daniel Ricciardo confirmation in mission to regain Red Bull seat

Henry Valantine
Daniel Ricciardo walks through the paddock in China.

Daniel Ricciardo is looking to put himself in the frame for a Red Bull drive next season.

Helmut Marko has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo has to be “clearly faster” than Yuki Tsunoda to be considered to regain a seat at Red Bull next season, and admitted “that hasn’t been the case so far”.

Ricciardo struggled in the early races to get on terms with Tsunoda’s pace, and despite showing improvements after a chassis change in China, his retirement through no fault of his own after being punted off by Lance Stroll means he is still without a point this season.

Helmut Marko: Daniel Ricciardo has to be ‘clearly faster’ than Yuki Tsunoda

Ricciardo, Tsunoda and current seat holder Sergio Perez are all looking to stake their claims to partner Max Verstappen next season, though the strong start to the year for Perez has made him favourite to hold onto his place at Red Bull for now – with team principal Christian Horner having maintained throughout that the drive is his to lose.

But for the in-team battle at RB, Tsunoda is the one who has had the upper hand so far, with Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko saying he does not quite have the same temper as he once did.

“Yuki had a great start to the season and is no longer the hot runner he once was,” Marko told Austrian publication Kleine Zeitung.

“There have only been a few races, so you can’t say much yet. But he has Daniel under control, even if it was close in Japan.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Follow PlanetF1.com’s WhatsApp channel for all the F1 breaking news!

The 10 drivers out of contract at the end of the F1 2024 season

When asked if he had expected more from Ricciardo so far this season, Marko responded: “The expectation was that he had to be clearly faster than Yuki if he wanted to have any hope of getting a seat at Red Bull.

“That hasn’t been the case so far, even if, as I said, it was close. We’ll see how that develops.”

For Ricciardo himself, he was furious over his exit from the Chinese Grand Prix after Stroll’s shunt last weekend, and team principal Horner weighed in ahead of the weekend about what it is he needs to do to put himself in the frame to regain his seat at the ‘senior’ team.

“Well, I think that it’s pretty much in Daniel’s hands,” Horner said in China.

“He needs to show the kind of head-turning form to make not only ourselves but potentially to make others take notice – and we’re only at race five.”

Read next: Nico Rosberg warns Carlos Sainz despite ‘great fit’ team being on the driver market