Helmut Marko disrespects Yuki Tsunoda again: Why will he not give him any credit?

Yuki Tsunoda has been impressive in the early stages of the 2024 Formula 1 season

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For all of the talk concerning the future of the Red Bull seat, one person who doesn’t seem to be in the conversation at all is Yuki Tsunoda. Despite the Japanese driver dominating his teammates since 2023, he never appears to be in contention for the spot and that appears to have been reinforced by Helmut Marko.

That is despite him qualifying 11th, ninth and eighth in the opening three rounds (14th, 14th and 18th for Daniel Ricciardo) and finishing 14th, 15th and seventh in races (13th, 16th and 12th for his teammate).

In addition to the strong start in 2024, he dismantled Nyck de Vries in 2023 (8-2 race; 8-2 qualifying), beat Ricciardo (4-3 race, 4-3 qualifying) and beat Liam Lawson in qualifying head-to-head 3-2 (he lost race head-to-head 3-1).

So Tsunoda appears to be proving himself good enough to at least have a foot in the door to become Max Verstappen‘s future teammate, if the team drops Sergio Perez, but Marko is expecting him to do something even more to get the nod of approval.

“Every lap was competitive and he didn’t make any mistakes,” Marko said to media after the 2024 Australian GP “He was calm.

“However, as they say, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. He still has to improve before he can be considered in this sense.”

How does Tsunoda feel about it?

The reason why he is still below Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso, Lawson and Ricciardo doesn’t actually appear to be related to talent though. It seems as though it’s connected to his emotional outbursts from within the cockpit.

At the 2024 Bahrain GP, the 23-year-old completely lost his cool after the chequered flag when team orders ensured Ricciardo finished above him, but not in a points-paying position.

In the wake of that, he lunged his teammate on the cooldown lap at Turn Eight before almost hitting him as he aggressively re-joined the track leading to Ricciardo to call him immature before the team intervened to control the matter.

He also has a reputation for angrily shouting at his engineer on the radio whenever he feels under pressure and is asked to do additional work, such as managing the tyres, pushing flat-out or asked a question. That image seems to be holding him back from the Red Bull seat.

Tsunoda, who is not shy of a challenge, is desperate to get that infamous nod from the ageing Austrian by proving his mental composure is good enough to race at the front end of the Formula 1 grid.

“Hopefully they will consider it,” said Tsunoda post-race in Australia. “At the same time, I do as much as I can to show the performance even to other teams.

“I just want to increase my value as a driver [and prove] that I can fight. I don’t know what’s going on with Red Bull, but hopefully they will strongly consider it as well.”

Tsunoda added: “It’s up to them [Red Bull] if they want me or not. But [I’m] mainly focusing on self-control. Other than that, I have pretty good confidence. I’m achieving most of it and I just keep improving.”

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