Japanese showdown looms for F1 RB drivers

Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda, two F1 RB drivers in the Red Bull stable, are on a crash course for a showdown in Japan next weekend. Tsunoda has out performed the likeable Aussie at every race in 2024 so far. Not usually liberal with his praise, Red Bull’s Dr. Helmut Marko has said several times in 2024 so far that Yuki Tsunoda is doing enough to keep his place in the Red Bull ranks.

“Franz Tost and I have always believed in him,” he wrote in a Speed Week column. “His problems were always lack of control, outbursts and a tendency to make mistakes. But all of that has gone this season,” wrote the Austrian. The same sort of praise, however, is not being directed at experienced F1 race winner Ricciardo, who at 34 was given another chance to keep his career alive as one of the F1 RB drivers.


Daniel Ricciardo, one of two F1 RB drivers in the Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Race Day. Image: Bearne / XPB Images

“No, it’s not annoying,” the Australian said when asked about the loss of support from Marko. “Obviously everyone’s talking positively when things go well, and they don’t talk so positively when they don’t. It’s just part of it,” said Ricciardo.

However, the New Zealand Herald newspaper is also reporting that Marko has told Ricciardo that his seat is only guaranteed for the next two races. These are Japan, where Tsunoda will have home-town support, and the Chinese GP in Beijing.


injured Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo had to undergoing surgery on a broken hand last year in the middle of his F1 return. Picture: Sky Sports F1.

For Miami, Red Bull reserve driver Liam Lawson could bounce back into the race seat after impressing when Ricciardo was injured last year. Rumours suggest the attempt to revive Ricciardo’s career was actually the brainchild of the embattled Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

“He’s a big boy,” Horner said in Melbourne. “He’ll pick himself up. I think it’s still very early in the year to even be thinking about next year.” Ricciardo also has support within the Faenza-based RB ranks, including team CEO Peter Bayer. “Daniel found his pace again after qualifying. We believe that from now on we can rely on him and that he will understand the car more and more,” said Bayer.

Bayer explained that Ricciardo’s current problem is that the 2024 car is simply better suited to Japanese Tsunoda’s driving style. “Yuki brakes later and harder. Therein lies the secret,” he said. – with GMM.

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What do you think of the two F1 RB drivers? Who is best for the seat? Be sure to share your thoughts with our audience in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us @TheSANews on X and The South African on Facebook for the latest updates.


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