Yuki Tsunoda’s intriguing stance on Red Bull future after Helmut Marko hails ‘incredible performance’

Jamie Woodhouse
Yuki Tsunoda in testing at Abu Dhabi.

Yuki Tsunoda.

While Yuki Tsunoda hopes his recent hot streak will be considered by Red Bull, having earned Helmut Marko’s praise with his Australian Grand Prix qualifying performance, he also hopes rival teams are watching.

While Red Bull senior advisor Marko has been tough on both RB drivers – Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo – so far in F1 2024, it has been Tsunoda shining in that intra-team battle, a trend which has continued into Ricciardo’s home race weekend, the Australian Grand Prix.

Yuki Tsunoda not just auditioning for Red Bull seat

While Ricciardo dropped out in Q1 after his fastest effort was deleted, Tsunoda went all the way to Q3 and secured P8 on the grid with a stellar performance which he quite rightly was proud of.

“It was good,” he reflected when speaking to media in Melbourne. “I think throughout the week we’ve had a very consistent car and able to be in the top 10 all the time.

“So definitely big credit to the team that they did a fantastic preparation and able to build-up the confidence pretty swiftly and yeah, very happy with my performance.

“I just have to keep doing what I’m doing. I think we just have to put it all together in the race. We had a pretty much frustration race the last few races, so now we just have to focus ourselves in the race without mistakes.”

With Red Bull’s Sergio Perez into the final year of his contract, both Tsunoda and Ricciardo are very much in contention for a promotion to the senior team, with Tsunoda looking like the driver that Red Bull would call upon at this point if they chose not to retain Perez.

However, while Tsunoda hopes that Red Bull will “strongly consider” his form after going 3-0 up in F1 2024 qualifying against Ricciardo, he made it clear that he wants to put himself on the radar of more teams than just Red Bull.

“Hopefully they will consider it,” said Tsunoda when asked if he is working himself into Red Bull contention with these performances? “I think at the same time, I’ll do as much as I can to show the performance even to the other teams.

“I just want to increase my value as a driver, that I can fight pretty strong.

“Obviously, I don’t know what’s going on with Red Bull, but hopefully, they will strongly consider it as well.”

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And Tsunoda can consider it point made on qualifying day at Albert Park, with the often stern Marko this time showering the praise, crediting Tsunoda for an “incredible performance”.

“He got into the top 10 again. That was an incredible performance,” Marko told Red Bull-owned Servus TV.

“He was always there, without mistakes. I hope that we’ll get into the points now because the speed is there. That was already the case in the first two races.

“That would be great because the first five teams are so strong. So if you manage to get in there, that’s an incredible achievement.”

Tsunoda will share row four on the Australian Grand Prix grid with Mercedes’ George Russell.

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