Jul.24 - Dr Helmut Marko has no regrets after making what has been described as the "brutal" decision to axe AlphaTauri rookie Nyck de Vries.

The Red Bull official said he made the call because Dutchman de Vries, and the rest of the energy drink company's struggling junior team, were "stagnating".

"Nyck de Vries did not live up to our expectations," he explained in Hungary.

"At the same time, AlphaTauri dropped to last place and two new managers are coming in. Franz Tost is retiring. The motivation and the passion seemed to have gotten a little lost in the team," Marko, 80, added.

"A driver change can always have a positive effect. That's the emotional aspect."

Red Bull, of course, has promoted Daniel Ricciardo back into racing action after six months on the bench following his own performance slump at McLaren.

And in a blow to Yuki Tsunoda's chances of eventually replacing Sergio Perez at Red Bull Racing, 33-year-old Ricciardo was ahead of the impressive Japanese throughout the weekend in Hungary.

"It's also the positive momentum that he (Ricciardo) brought to the team and a stabilisation of the technical statements and changes," Marko said.

"The change worked out perfectly."

Marko is playing down rumours that Ricciardo could replace Perez as early as 2024, with the Mexican - who was praised for his aggressive drive to the podium on Sunday following a slump - already under contract for next year.

Tsunoda, meanwhile, also appears stuck at AlphaTauri for now.

"Anything is possible," Marko said. "But why shouldn't he drive with us?

"We're happy with him because of his improvement this year. He's been unlucky a few times in the races."

One complication for Tsunoda, however, is his ties to Honda - given that Red Bull is teaming up for its own engine program with Ford from 2026.

"With (F1 driver) Ayumu Iwasa there is a cooperation with Honda as well as Tsunoda," Marko revealed. "(Liam) Lawson, on the other hand, is independent of Honda."

So when asked why New Zealander Lawson was overlooked for de Vries' mid-season seat, he answered: "We considered him, but the risk would have been too great because he lacks routine and doesn't yet have the image of a Ricciardo.

"Liam should finish his season in Japan in peace. We also considered that with Ricciardo and his experience he can make different statements about a racing can than Yuki, who has only driven for AlphaTauri.

"So it's also about a technical assessment of the situation there. A second factor is that with Ricciardo we can compare him to Tsunoda, because we don't really know exactly where he stands."

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3 F1 Fan comments on “From Stagnation to Success: Marko's Bold Move Shapes AlphaTauri's Future

  1. Jere Jyrälä

    For Yuki, getting outperformed by DR in both qualifying & the race on merit despite a considerable advantage in car familiarity is a bad look, meaning that NDV's subpar performance level made him look better over the first ten GPs, so DR's comeback exposed his true level.
    He's under threat from Lawson if he continues to get outperformed over the remaining season, given Red Bull has never considered external factors, i.e., anything other than performance in their driver choices for either team, like some smaller teams before becoming financially stable in the recent past.

  2. The Spy

    I see Lawson taking Yuki’s seat next year unless he quickly starts to beat Daniel, which won’t happen. However, if Daniel goes to Red Bull as planned, he may survive one more year if it’s a straight swap with Checo.

    On the subject of Checo, I wonder if Ferrari would possibly take him to replace Charles or Carlos. I suspect one of them could be taking Bottas’s seat at Audi. Alternatively, Lando might take the money and sign with Audi, especially if he is consistently beaten by Oscar next year. It’s all food for thought.

    • Jere Jyrälä

      Lawson replacing Yuki as Daniel's teammate is also what I envision, & if Daniel were to replace Checo, in that case, Lawson would most certainly fill his vacancy in the B-team with Yuki staying for continuity's sake.
      If Checo were to get sacked, he might find getting another drive for next season difficult because teams mightn't necessarily be willing to sack one of their current drivers for him.


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