Tsunoda eyes Red Bull, Ricciardo eyes F1 exit door

Tsunoda eyes Red Bull, Ricciardo eyes F1 exit door

Tsunoda eyes Red Bull, Ricciardo (...)

While one driver is eyeing a move to Formula 1’s top seat, his teammate is facing the exit door.

“That was a fantastic performance,” Dr Helmut Marko, the notoriously stormy and influential F1 consultant at Red Bull, told Servus TV in Melbourne.

“He was there the whole time and he didn’t make any mistakes. The first five teams are so strong that it’s quite an achievement if you manage to be ahead of them.”

He was referring to Yuki Tsunoda, who qualified eighth – an incredible ten positions ahead of his increasingly-struggling RB teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Just a day earlier, Marko admitted both Ricciardo and Sergio Perez – both 34 – are getting too old to be the “future” stars of Red Bull Racing, the energy drink company’s top Formula 1 team.

“Hopefully they will consider me,” Japanese Tsunoda, 23, said in Melbourne.

“I want to show my value as a driver, also for the other teams. I want to show that I am a real fighter.”

As for former race winner Ricciardo, however, his star seems to be fading quickly – even after Red Bull rescued his career last year following his McLaren ousting.

“I think the pressure is too much for him again,” former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde told Viaplay. “Somehow he can’t handle it anymore.

“I don’t think he will even make it to the end of the season if he continues like this.”

Indeed, Australian Ricciardo doesn’t deny that he has been left in the shade by Tsunoda at his home race this weekend. “I can tell you that I couldn’t have improved by seven tenths,” he said, referring to his gap to the sister RB car.

It doesn’t bode well for Ricciardo’s chances of even staying in Formula 1 next year, let alone returning to Red Bull Racing to be Max Verstappen’s new teammate.

“How’s he going to compete with Verstappen if he can’t get on top of Tsunoda in the same team?” former F1 driver David Brabham wonders to the Australian broadcaster Nine.

“Straight away, confidence in the Red Bull camp in Daniel will quickly turn against him.”

When asked if he might switch to another series if his F1 adventure ends again at the end of the year – or even earlier – Ricciardo said he was only interested in the top category of motorsport.

“I know for sure it’s Formula 1 or nothing,” he said. “If we talk about other championships, then for now I’d rather remain just a fan.”

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