Faster Than Mick Schumacher: Marko Defends Decision to Give Yuki Tsunoda F1 Seat

Published 11/01/2021, 4:43 PM EDT
Helmut Marko (Red Bull Motorsportkonsulent) mit Handy, Grosser Preis von Belgien 2017, Rennen, Motorsport, Formel 1, 26.08.2017, Spa / Francorchamps.

Helmut Marko with Red Bull has revolutionised Formula 1 in many ways. Arguably the most notable being the concept of young drivers rapidly coming up through the ranks into F1. And Marko’s most recent prodigy has been Yuki Tsunoda.


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In a ‘long read’ posted on Formula 1’s website, it was revealed that Helmut Marko played a big part in the Japanese driver’s rapid ascent to Formula 1.

Speaking of Tsunoda’s time in F2, Marko said-


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“During the championship, they were all talking about Schumacher, but Yuki was the faster one. It was clear we should put him in F1. And in Bahrain, on his debut for Alpha Tauri, straight away he was there.”

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in action during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Mick Schumacher came to F1 riding on the F2 Championship winning wave. But Helmut Marko’s faith in Tsunoda was not based on his race wins but simply on his pace.

This paid off because the Haas Driver has struggled throughout the season while Tsunoda has given bright scattered glimpses of his promise right from the onset, repaying Marko’s trust in him from day one.

From F3 to F2 to F1, Marko paved the way for Yuki Tsunoda

After signing for Honda’s Dream Project, Tsunoda was on Marko’s radar and his consistent performances and pace made the Austrian invite him to test in an F3 car.

“He was immediately competitive, especially in the fast corners – he was better than any drivers that were there. I check the results. If it looks good, then I have a meeting with them. Yuki looked good,” Marko spoke of his F3 test.

Helmut Marko was key in Tsunoda signing for F3 side Jenzer Motorsports in 2018, as F3 was the quickest route to prepare for F1.

While in F3, Alpha Tauri’s Principal Franz Tost was impressed by the driver’s fantastic job.

Continuing his quick rise, Tsunoda was promoted to F2, wherein Marko set a high target; finish in the top three, and he did.

The course was set, with Tost already on board, Yuki Tsunoda was promoted to Formula 1.

Tsunoda struggling but pushing it in his rookie season but has faith

In his first season, Tsunoda has struggled in the F1 car.


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Even though Red Bull aren’t known to be patient with their young drivers, with Tsunoda they’re willing to make an exception.

It’s only natural to expect Yuki Tsunoda to be in a Red Bull in the future, sooner or later.


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Because in Tsunoda, Helmut Marko hasn’t only found one of the best racing talents of recent memory, but a dedicated professional with a ‘win-no-matter-what’ mentality, which is exactly what Marko’s Red Bull stand for.

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Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A Graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for the better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in the future.