Join DRAKE at STAKE F1 PARTNER
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Yuki Tsunoda of Japan and Visa Cash App RB, Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB and Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing pose for a photo in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

VCARB happy with Tsunoda and Ricciardo but no 2025 discussion

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Yuki Tsunoda of Japan and Visa Cash App RB, Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB and Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing pose for a photo in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2024 in Monte-Carlo, Bayer. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Yuki Tsunoda has made a big step up this season and VCARB would be keen for the Japanese driver to stay next year, the Red Bull-owned team’s chief executive Peter Bayer told reporters on Friday in Monaco.

The Honda-backed driver’s place has looked uncertain with the manufacturer moving to Aston Martin for 2026, when Formula 1 starts a new engine era.

The 24-year-old has been outperforming experienced Australian Daniel Ricciardo, however, and the team also have 22-year-old New Zealander Liam Lawson as reserve and waiting for his chance.

Bayer said during a press conference that VCARB were happy with both current race drivers and their focus was more on chasing Aston Martin in front of them than on driver discussions.

“I definitely believe he has made a big step forward,” Bayer said of Tsunoda. “It’s physical preparation, but it’s also his mental readiness to perform and deliver.

“I think he simply understood that every time he would be swearing on the radio, that would cost him a tenth. So he’s got himself under control. He’s extremely professional in the work that he’s putting into the feedback with the engineers,” added the VCARB CEO.

Super-sub Lawson waits in the wings

AlphaTauri: Until Ricciardo is fully fit, Lawson will continue to drive

Tsunoda has scored 15 points in seven races compared to Ricciardo’s five. While the Australian finished fourth in the Miami sprint, Tsunoda has been in the points in four grands prix.

Lawson filled in for Ricciardo when the Australian was injured last season and Red Bull bosses assured him then that he would be in Formula 1.

Asked where Lawson fitted in now, Bayer said the youngster remained an extremely valuable member of the team: “Currently we have two drivers in the cars. We are finding performance with the two. And we really do not discuss the 2025 situation.

“The focus is really on track and on the next couple of races until definitely the summer break,” added Bayer, while Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said there was still plenty of time and all were contracted to the energy drinks outfit.

Both Tsunoda and Ricciardo are out of contract at the end of this season.

“Liam is undoubtedly keen to get back into a race situation. The drivers in Formula 2 are performing well at the moment, Formula 3 is likewise. So we have a strong vein of talent,” Bayer insisted. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)