Helmut Marko sends Daniel Ricciardo a stern warning amid Red Bull hopes

Helmut Marko sends Daniel Ricciardo a stern warning amid Red Bull hopes

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has sent Daniel Ricciardo a stern warning ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo has been warned by Helmut Marko that he needs to “come up with something soon” following two dismal races in a row as three drivers compete for Max Verstappen’s 2025 Red Bull spot.

The Australian is back in action for the first time with Red Bull’s reserve team this year after being let go from McLaren in 2022.

Since rejoining the Red Bull stable at the beginning of the previous year, Ricciardo has stated repeatedly that rejoining the senior squad of the Austrian outfit is his ultimate goal.

Nevertheless, despite great hopes for the relaunched RB team due to its closer technical partnership with Red Bull, Ricciardo’s start to the season has been disappointing.

So far, Ricciardo has qualified behind teammate Yuki Tsunoda in both rounds. He suffered a terrible race at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, spinning to finish in 16th place.

Both RB drivers failed to score a point during what is turning out to be a dismal opening to the season for the much-hyped junior squad, as a result of a prolonged pit stop for the Australian and a five-second penalty for Tsunoda for making an unsafe release.

But amidst the strong hopes that RB would be a formidable force in Formula 1’s midfield—Max Verstappen even speculating that they may place third this season—lies the internal struggle to take Sergio Perez’s spot at Red Bull Racing next season.

The Mexican driver is accumulating points behind the race-winning Verstappen as evidenced by his consecutive runner-up finishes which is exactly what Red Bull wants. However, it appears that Tsunoda is currently next in line at RB according to Marko, probably based on his impressive qualifying efforts.

Marko has piled pressure on Ricciardo ahead of the eight-time F1 race winner’s home weekend in Melbourne by making it clear that he needs to perform better.

“A word about the Racing Bulls,” he said in his Speedweek column. “There’s a lot at stake this season for both Yuki and Daniel.

“Yuki’s qualifying performance was very good and Ricciardo has to come up with something soon.”

Tsunoda claimed RB’s first starting slot in the top 10 in Jeddah but for the second time in a row, the Japanese driver faltered from a strong starting position.

According to Marko, the Faenza-based team needs to make an effort to comprehend why its VCARB 01 chassis isn’t able to convert its potent one-lap performance into a strong racing form.

“Where there is work, at least Tsunoda is very good in qualifying,” Marko added. “Then they are at the top of the World Championship points in the first stint, only to fall further and further behind afterwards.

“They cannot maintain the speed in the long term. Whether they are putting too much strain on the tyres or there are other reasons is what they need to find out.”

The Austrian also praised Sergio Perez, who is currently under pressure to secure a Red Bull contract extension after a challenging 2023 season, stating that he has adopted his team-mate’s set-ups.

“Max makes the difference in terms of managing the rear of the car, which is nervous, but cars that don’t move like that are not fast. Perez easily drives cars that are more stable,” he explained.

“That’s why in the first races of 2022, when the RB18 was overweight, he managed to be quick because the car was understeering and had a stable rear end.

“This year Sergio is no longer experimenting, but starts every grand prix , more or less, with the same set-up as Verstappen.”

There is more at stake ahead of the 2025 season with Liam Lawson waiting in the wings at Red Bull. If the team decides to stick with Perez, who is performing exceptionally so far this season, then either Ricciardo or Tsunoda may lose their jobs if Lawson is promoted from reserve driver.

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