Marko Alerts Ricciardo: Clock Is Ticking

Marko Alerts Ricciardo Clock Is Ticking

The Red Bull Formula One team has been dealing with a lot of drama since before the 2024 season started. 

Right now, they really don’t need rumors about possibly dropping one of their drivers. Sergio Perez was watched closely last year because he wasn’t doing as well in qualifying races and only scored half the points of his teammate.

Dr. Helmet Marko, a consultant for the team, was in the middle of a controversy over comments he made after the Italian Grand Prix. He suggested on Red Bull’s Servus TV channel that Perez’s up and down performance was because of his ethnicity. 

Marko said, “Perez has problems in qualifying and isn’t always consistent. He’s from South America and just doesn’t have the same focus as Max [Verstappen] or Sebastian [Vettel].”

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Marko criticized Perez

Marko criticized Perez, who is from Mexico, not South America. F1’s leaders, the FIA, warned Marko to be responsible because he’s a public figure in racing.

Perez did well at the end of the year, helping Red Bull get their first ever 1-2 finish in the championship. But, there was a big difference in performance between him and his teammate Verstappen. 

Verstappen could have raced only half the season and still finished ahead of Perez.

Red Bull is known for changing drivers during the season if needed. For example, Pierre Gasly was moved up to race with Verstappen in 2019, but then was sent back to Toro Rosso after the summer break.

Red Bull is known for changing their drivers often. 

Last season, they replaced newcomer Nyck de Vries after just 10 races, bringing in Daniel Ricciardo from the reserve team to race for AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s junior team.

Christian Horner, the team boss, brought Ricciardo back into the fold after he left McLaren. It seemed Ricciardo was mainly there as a backup, possibly to replace Sergio Perez. However, Ricciardo got his chance to race at AlphaTauri first. This was a bit of a mixed situation for him. Last year, Ricciardo had raced in 10 fewer races than his teammate from Japan, but he still managed to qualify and finish 13th in the Hungary race. 

This was quite good, especially since he started ahead of his teammate Tsunoda, who was 17th at the start and finished two places behind Ricciardo.

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However, at the next race in Belgium, Tsunoda did better than Ricciardo, beating him in both the qualifying round and the final race. Ricciardo did slightly better in the Sprint events related to the race, but he still didn’t win any points.

Ricciardo’s performance

Ricciardo’s performance has been up and down. In one of the practice sessions, he crashed into Oscar Piastri’s stopped McLaren, hurting his hand badly. This accident made him miss the next four races.

When he came back in Texas, he didn’t do as well as Tsunoda, who scored the first big points of the year for AlphaTauri. Daniel finished last in that race. However, in Mexico, Ricciardo did great, finishing in 7th place and helping his team hope to overtake Williams in the standings. Although Tsunoda scored in two of the last three races, Ricciardo’s results were mixed with a 13th place, a DNF (did not finish), and an 11th place.

Overall, Ricciardo scored six points from the seven races he was in, which was disappointing, especially since he had been a strong competitor when he was racing with Max Verstappen at Red Bull.

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Just two races into 2024, Daniel Ricciardo is feeling the heat from Red Bull’s advisor, Helmut Marko. Both he and Tsunoda haven’t scored any points yet, but Ricciardo was expected to do better since he’s back with Red Bull.

He was thought to maybe take over Sergio Perez’s spot but hasn’t shown he’s better than Yuki Tsunoda. Perez, on the other hand, hasn’t won but finished second in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia races, impressing everyone, including Marko.

Marko praised Perez for his great race in Jeddah, especially for passing Leclerc and catching up to Max Verstappen. But when it comes to Ricciardo, Marko isn’t too happy.

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Marko commends Tsunoda

“There’s a lot riding on this season for both Yuki (Tsunoda) and Daniel,” he said to Speed Week. “Yuki did really well in qualifying, but Ricciardo needs to step it up soon.

“Yuki is great in qualifying,” Marko added. “He starts off strong, leading in the beginning, but then he starts falling behind.”

Dr Marko also wondered if the new Visa Cash App Racing Bull drivers “are being too hard on the tires or if something else is the problem. We need to figure this out.” The Racing Bulls were expected to do really well among the middle teams in F1 this year, but Kevin Magnussen’s smart defending allowed his teammate to finish in 10th place, putting Haas F1 ahead of the other mid-level teams.

After the race, Ricciardo was hopeful, saying that better results will come if the car improves.

“I know we can do much better if we get the car to behave. It just hasn’t all come together yet,” Daniel told Sky Sports F1.

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