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Mekies Confident Tsunoda's Potential Unlocked

RB F1’s Mekies: Tsunoda Poised for Breakthrough

27/06/2024

Laurent Mekies is optimistic about Yuki Tsunoda, predicting a major leap in performance for the RB F1 driver.

Director of RB F1 team, is confident that Yuki Tsunoda has more to show after extending his contract for next year.

Tsunoda has been one of the top drivers in the field so far, scoring points in five out of nine races this year and generally outperforming his teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Laurent Mekies

Mekies has been impressed by the progress Tsunoda has made since last year, but says the team sees even more potential in the 24-year-old driver that they want to unlock.

“What keeps us up at night is making sure we have the environment for the weeks, months, years ahead, that allows us to take Yuki to a new level. Or more than one level. We don’t want him to stop now, we think there is more to come from Yuki.”

“Even though he is already at an incredible level, we think there is still more to come than what he’s showing. So we need to make sure we have the right mix of constructive dynamics and aggressiveness to ensure we get those results from him.”

Tsunoda himself is confident that the step forward will occur and has noted that the transition from former boss Franz Tost to Mekies has been smooth, which has also helped his own performances.

“In terms of team director, Franz and Laurent are quite similar to be honest. They give me a lot, we have natural discussions every morning whenever we meet, and I feel massive support from both, which I really appreciate.”

“One thing that has been a positive change as a team is that I feel the whole engineering team and the mechanics have become more connected to each other. So the philosophy that Laurent wants to achieve was perhaps a different approach from that of Franz, and it helped the team to be a bit more united.”

“This connection, for me, is very important and I place a lot of importance on it. It gives us extra motivation to work as a team in the same direction and make sure we are on the same wavelength on every detail. I try to be in tune with these things.”

Will RB F1’s developments still falter in Austria?

Mekies Confident Tsunoda's Potential Unlocked

The Spanish Grand Prix was a morale blow for RB F1. The team introduced significant upgrades, including changes to the floor and rear wing.

However, the Barcelona weekend turned out to be the team’s worst of the year, failing to progress beyond Q1. Laurent Mekies admitted that RB F1 had a steep fall after the Grand Prix.

Was it a setup issue, or were the upgrades a major miss for Faenza? The Austrian Grand Prix this weekend will tell.

Daniel Ricciardo, who outperformed his teammate Yuki Tsunoda last weekend, is set to contest his 250th Grand Prix in F1. With pessimism?

“I have many reasons to be excited about Austria: it’s my 250th F1 Grand Prix, which is pretty crazy. I’ll be racing with a special helmet for this weekend, which should be fun, and it’s a home circuit for Red Bull, so there’s always a lot of support there. It’s good for the team, for the brand, it’s a special race.”

“We will try to turn things around after Barcelona. We don’t have much time as it’s a sprint weekend, with only one free practice session, so we really need to get everything right, and quickly.”

Yuki Tsunoda seemed disheartened after Barcelona, but insists his team has worked tirelessly to better understand the potential of the developments made.

“I like the Red Bull Ring and I enjoy the place itself and the surrounding countryside, as I love nature. I also like the food, especially the Schnitzel! It’s a home circuit for the Red Bull family, so I hope we can perform well. It’s another sprint format, so we only have one hour of free practice, so every session counts.”

“I know everyone has worked very hard at the factory to understand why we struggled so much in Spain and I hope we can make up for it this weekend.”

Alan Permane, the sporting director, finally discusses the technical demands and characteristics of the short Austrian track.

“It’s a special race for the Red Bull family and we are looking forward to racing in the beautiful Styrian countryside. The circuit is demanding for both the car and the driver, with long straights, heavy braking, but also very high-speed corners.”

“It’s a sprint weekend, so our preparation must be perfect. Pirelli will bring the softest tyres in its range and one of the challenges will be to extract the maximum from the three compounds over one lap during the sprint qualifying on Friday afternoon.”

 Mekies Confident Tsunoda's Potential Unlocked

Mekies Confident: Tsunoda’s Potential Unlocked. Mekies Confident: Tsunoda’s Potential Unlocked

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