Daniel Ricciardo must “come up with something soon” warns Marko

Jaden Diaz
12 Mar, 2024

Daniel Ricciardo is under pressure to deliver performances, and Helmut Marko has made clear his current form cannot continue. After a difficult start to the season, pressure will inevitably increase for the Racing Bulls driver.

Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda were a huge talking point from the opening round of 2024. Team radio frustrations were clear after VCARB issued team orders to Tsunoda, instructing the 23-year-old to let his teammate pass.

After out-qualifying and generally outperforming the 34-year-old in Sakhir, the Japanese driver was understandably displeased.

In this context, the Faenza-based outfit received plenty of attention heading into last weekend’s Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia.

However, it was Tsunoda who again produced the best performances in the VCARB 01. He even managed to reach Q3, a noteworthy achievement considering there is a clear top-five group.

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) RB VCARB 01.
02.03.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Race Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

Although it could be argued that points were left on the table in Jeddah, RB lacks the pace that many anticipated to begin 2024.

Perhaps the bigger talking point for Laurent Mekies’ personnel was the difference between Ricciardo and Tsunoda.

The former Red Bull driver was nowhere near his younger teammate, even making a mistake and spinning near the end.

With Sergio Perez performing at a solid level thus far, Ricciardo is not making a convincing case for a promotion next season.

Writing with Speedweek, Helmut Marko was blunt about his analysis of the situation in VCARB:

“There’s a lot at stake this season for both Yuki and Daniel.

“Yuki’s qualifying was very good, and Ricciardo has to come up with something soon…

“At least Tsunoda is very good in qualifying. Then they are in the points in the first stint, only to fall further behind afterwards…

“Whether they are putting too much strain on the tyres or there are other reasons is what you need to find out.”

Daniel Ricciardo will not require any reminders about the importance of this season for his career.

Whilst the driver market could be very unpredictable this season, it is unlikely the 34-year-old will have many high-profile suitors outside the Red Bull camp.

He has made it abundantly clear that earning a seat at Red Bull is his objective.

It is also unrealistic that the Austrian team will keep someone with over a decade of F1 experience in their junior team for too long.

This means that Ricciardo’s prospects will diminish as long as Tsunoda establishes himself as the standout at VCARB.

There is still time for the RB driver to find his form, but this must happen soon. Otherwise, contract negotiations in 2024 will become very difficult.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang




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