Red Bull won't “burn” rough diamond Tsunoda in F1

The Japanese youngster marked himself out as a future star with a great showing at last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

He set the second fastest time in Q1 and finished the race in ninth place, having pulled off a great overtaking move on Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll on the final lap.

Tsunoda’s pace and the hype surrounding him has already prompted suggestions he could be in the frame to step up to the main Red Bull team from 2022.

However, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has urged caution about such talk, despite clearly believing that Tsunoda has a bright future.

Marko remains well aware of the fact that Daniil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon have all failed to reach their full potential at Red Bull after being promoted and there is a sense to not rush things this time.

In an exclusive interview with Autosport’s German language sister site Formel1.de, Marko praised the impact that Tsunoda had made but said Red Bull was ready to be patient.

“The way he goes about it, the way he makes the car fly [is fantastic],” Marko said about Tsunoda. “He’s also a charismatic, funny guy. We are very happy to have him.”

Asked about the prospect of a 2022 drive at Red Bull, he replied: “We’ve had the first of 23 races, so let’s see how things develop.

“We have an incredible rough diamond in Yuki. We’re not going to burn him. We will look at the development and then make our decisions in a timely manner.”

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02 and Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02 and Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

A move to Red Bull for Tsunoda would be bad news for Sergio Perez, who is currently on a one-year deal to drive for Red Bull this season.

The Mexican had a mixed weekend in Bahrain, after getting dumped out of qualifying in Q2 before recovering well in the race to take fifth place.

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Marko said that in terms of race pace there were no concerns about Perez, but the key for him now was putting a lap together in qualifying.

“The race speed is on the same level as Verstappen,” said Marko. “When he was in free air, he set the same times, so, so far, so good. Unfortunately, it wasn’t like that in qualifying.

“The positive thing was that he lost most of his time in one turn, Turn 1. Already during testing, in sector three, he was faster than Max on average. The only issue is: you have to get the lap together.

“But we are convinced that he will get much closer to Max in qualifying as well.”



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