Yuki Tsunoda concerned for Daniel Ricciardo relationship as Red Bull seat becomes first priority

Sam Cooper
Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo

RB's Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo.

Yuki Tsunoda has said his “first priority” is to get the Red Bull seat but does not want that to affect his relationship with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

It is no secret that both RB drivers would like to be promoted up the Red Bull ladder to partner Max Verstappen but two do not go into one and with the pair and Sergio Perez fighting for it, that seat is one of the most hotly contested in F1.

Tsunoda has previously been coy about his future goals but has now stated his number one priority is to drive for Red Bull.

Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo both aiming for Red Bull seat

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Ricciardo and Tsunoda have been on-again, off-again team-mates since Ricciardo returned to the team at Hungary last year but it is clear the Australian would like to use the Faenza operation as a stepping stone back into the Red Bull seat he once held.

Tsunoda, who has been associated with Red Bull since 2019, has now admitted that driving for the first team is a “priority” after three years with AlphaTauri, now known as RB.

“Obviously, as a driver, if I get more interest from other teams, that’ll be great,” he told media including PlanetF1.com of the driver market. “It proves how well you drove and how much value you have from other teams.

“So that’s what I’m aiming for and obviously, my first priority will be Red Bull.

“It’s very tough. When you have a lot of patience, it’s good for negotiation but you need to show on the track and that’s how good you really are. So that’s where I’m focusing.”

Tsunoda was then probed on whether that desire to move to Red Bull could put him in conflict with team-mate Ricciardo, another who has made his feelings about moving up known.

The Japanese driver admitted Ricciardo currently had the edge but did not want it to ruin their relationship as team-mates.

“Daniel, I think has a thing, I don’t have, for example, and that is his control, he’s really good at it,” Tsunoda said of the 34-year-old Australian.

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“I think, also one of the things that teams value as well as [is feedback], rather than just keep shouting and giving feedback, he’s much better.

“So I’m just learning from that, especially, and Daniel, we know, from all of his teams that he’s fast. He won multiple grands prix and he’s definitely feeling much more comfortable with our car, compared to other cars.

“So I think he’s back to great shape but that’s also [what] I like. To challenge a fast driver.

“I think we also accept that we were sharing each other’s opinion for now. How much we can improve that car.

“Also, he’s a team-mate. It’s purely team-mates [rather than rivals]. We’re working well so this year, [we will see] how it goes but I’m sure we will be okay.

“Formula 1, this is our life [but we have] to be team-mates. Our main competitors are team-mates rather than others.”

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