Red Bull junior Yuki Tsunoda says that Helmut Marko is a fun and kind person, and, less surprisingly, rather demanding.
Tsunoda is the latest in a long list of drivers from Marko’s programme to impress in the lower categories and looks set to make it to the Formula 1 grid in the next few years.
Marko has a reputation for being somewhat harsh and intimidating, but the Japanese driver says that there’s a lighter side to him.
“We have a great relationship, he’s a kind and fun person,” Tsunoda told the Italian edition of Motorsport in an interview.
“Last year when I went to Austria to meet him and talk about the season just ended he was not happy with the results I had achieved. Of course, he knew I was a rookie and that I could have a hard time, but he demanded a lot more.
“Then we went to dinner together and he asked me directly what my goals were and what I expected. I answered him honestly even though I felt a little pressure.”
Tsunoda has hugely impressed in Formula 2 this season and is currently sat in P3 in the standings with 147 points.
Such performances have led to rumours he’s set to be given a 2021 AlphaTauri seat, but he’s just aiming to qualify for a super license.
“I honestly didn’t expect this kind of performance,” he added.
“At the beginning of the year, I immediately had good feelings with the car. Already from the tests, I went very well and in Austria, on the occasion of the first round of the season, I was quick right away and managed to go to the maximum and attack.
“In any case, I knew that this year I would have to give my all to finish in the top four in the championship and have the chance to get the super license. I had a different approach to racing than in the past. This year is the best year of my career, I’m enjoying every race.
“From the beginning, the minimum goal has always been fourth place. This was the request that Helmut Marko made to me to get the necessary points to obtain the super license. Obviously, the ambition, as for all the drivers, is to win the title.”