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Horner sets Ricciardo target to continue F1 career amid Lawson and Tsunoda praise

Yuki Tsunoda has scored all of RB's points in the 2024 F1 season and outqualified Daniel Ricciardo four times out of four


Christian Horner has stressed Daniel Ricciardo‘s Formula 1 future is in his own hands and has given the RB driver a target, despite admitting the Australian’s 2024 season “hasn’t really got going yet“.

Yuki Tsunoda has scored all seven of RB‘s points so far in 2024 and started ahead of Ricciardo at every round before the Chinese Grand Prix.

After Liam Lawson impressed so handily in his five-race stint standing in for the injured Ricciardo in 2023, rumours are already circulating that Red Bull could give the Kiwi a chance unless Ricciardo can improve, similar to how the 34-year-old replaced Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri after the 2023 British GP.

“I think that it’s pretty much in Daniel’s hands, so he needs to show the kind of head-turning form to make not only ourselves, but potentially others take notice,” Horner told members of the press including Total-Motorsport.com.

“And you’re only at race five. This is a track that’s gone well for him previously. He’s got a sprint race, as well so it’ll be interesting to see if he can really kick his season off here.

“Obviously waiting in the wings is a driver with the talent of Liam Lawson who naturally is is champing at the bit to get an opportunity but there’s nothing preset or preordained as to when, even if, that would take place.

“The priority is for sure for the the drivers that are in the race seats at the moment and we’ll see how that pans out.”

Horner: Red Bull watching RB performance closely

Liam Lawson leads Sergio Perez for AlphaTauri at the 2023 Singapore GP | Clive Rose/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko recently told Austrian publication Kleine Zeitung that it would be exciting for the team to see Lawson in F1 this year to get a better picture of their young star, but added it’s a ‘complex’ situation.

Horner has generally enjoyed a close relationship with Ricciardo though, who did at least start the 2024 season well, overcoming a fiesty teammate battle to finish ahead of Tsunoda at the Bahrain GP.

However, he’s since been outperformed by Tsunoda at his home race and then was the more guilty party in the Japanese GP first-lap crash that ended both Ricciardo and Alex Albon‘s races.

Things improved at the weekend in Shanghai as Ricciardo finished ahead of Tsunoda in every competitive session, only to be taken out of the race itself by Lance Stroll.

“It’s still early days, isn’t it?” Horner added. “His season hasn’t really got going yet. He’s he’s had some difficulties and I think by his own admittance would feel that he’s underperformed so far this year, but we’re only at race five.

“So this is a track that he’s historically been strong and he won here for us in great fashion in 2018. So let’s see how things things unfold, obviously we keep a close eye on the drivers we keep a close eye on their development.

“And I have to say, Yuki, conversely has had a great start to the season is driving very well. So as a sister team we take a close interest on those drivers.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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