Yuki Tsunoda cites reason for being excluded from ongoing Red Bull rumours

Michelle Foster
Daniel Ricciardo hitches a ride with his AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

Yuki Tsunoda has not featured in the conversation to replace Sergio Perez.

Yuki Tsunoda says it “makes sense” that Daniel Ricciardo is the AlphaTauri driver being linked to Sergio Perez’s Red Bull seat, after all, he’s a valued driver with “Red Bull energy”.

As Formula 1’s rumour mill continues to show Perez the exit door, the driver not doing himself any favours by following up his Mexican Grand Prix lap 1 crash with a P9 in qualifying in Brazil, it’s Ricciardo who is said to be the favourite to replace him.

So much so Red Bull’s lead driver Max Verstappen was asked several times in the build-up to the Brazilian Grand Prix which of the two he would choose as his teammate.

Yuki Tsunoda ‘not worried’ about Daniel Ricciardo

There was absolutely no mention of Yuki Tsunoda.

Although the Japanese driver is reportedly a favourite of Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, it’s Ricciardo, even Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso, who are mentioned in the running to partner Verstappen.

Tsunoda isn’t at all fazed about being left out of the conversation in favour of Ricciardo.

“Daniel has more experience; Daniel has obviously more fans,” he told Autosport. “He is [one of the] more trusted drivers. I guess he is [one of the] most valued drivers, so it makes sense.

“[Daniel] is doing a good job. I think especially he came back from McLaren and he seems very comfortable with the [current AlphaTauri] car, especially compared to previous teams.

“I think he is Red Bull energy, his Red Bull style suits the team maybe.

“But still, I’m not worried that I won’t beat him. I still have the confidence that I can beat him and am still learning from him.”

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Tsunoda needs to show Red Bull he can do the job

Tsunoda accepts it is up to him to show the Red Bull bosses that he too should be in the running to replace Perez when the time comes.

“I just have to show my performance consistently to kind of show them. Everyone can understand that I can be that contender,” he said.

“Checo has next year’s contract so nothing we can do, and I don’t think that you can change anything. I just have to now keep showing my results. I think that’s it.”

Although Tsunoda has contested 18 of this year’s 19 Grands Prix with Ricciardo only starting four, the Japanese driver is just two points ahead of the Aussie.

Ricciardo also has the team’s best result of the championship having finished seventh at the Mexican Grand Prix, a race he started P4. That grid slot is also AlphaTauri’s best of the season.

Although Tsunoda hasn’t been linked to Red Bull, he is said to be a candidate for Aston Martin in the years to come given they’ll be powered by Honda in 2026.

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