Tsunoda 'Still Has To Improve' Before Being Considered For Red Bull Seat According To Marko

Wednesday, 03 April 2024 at 09:30
tsunoda yuki rb rbcp4
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko acknowledged Tsunoda's performance but asserted he still needs to improve before being considered for Red Bull.
The last two years have been quite a rollercoaster for the only Japanese driver in F1—Yuki Tsunoda. He has made great progress in performance, but he was still outperformed by rookie Liam Lawson last year.
Despite being outperformed by the 22-year-old, Tsunoda was then prioritized over Lawson and got a contract for the 2024 season.
From the start of this year, the RB driver has been proving that RB didn't make the wrong decision to extend his contract. Now, he is beating his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who was the favorite for the seat in Red Bull before the start of this season.
Tsunoda and Ricciardo were told that one who dominates over the other might get a chance in Red Bull Racing in 2025. However, according to recent reports, despite beating the honey badger, Helmut Marko just won't consider Yuki Tsunoda. BBC journalist Andrew Benson wrote:

"Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko does not rate Tsunoda, who was forced on him by engine partner Honda."

How could Honda force Tsunoda on Red Bull and RB? Former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan, who used to get engines from the Japanese manufacturer, explained how it worked in his example.
Honda gave him the option to either pay the full price for the power units he needed or take a Japanese driver on his team, and he would get a significant discount worth a couple of million dollars.
If RB or Red Bull are in a similar position, they need to consider whether the driver they would take instead of the Japanese one is worth the extra millions of dollars they won't save on power units.
We don't know if that is precisely how the Austrian company's and Honda's relationship works, but if Tsunoda "was forced on" Marko, it suggests a similar dynamic.
At the moment, it definitely makes sense for RB to have Tsunoda, as he deserves the seat, even purely based on his own performance.
However, Marko still doesn't want him in Red Bull and suggests he has more to prove before being considered for the seat. According to total-motorsport.com, he said:

"Every lap (in Australia) was competitive, and he didn't make any mistakes. However, as they say, one swallow doesn't make a summer. He still has to improve before he can be considered in this sense."