Yuki Tsunoda Unhappy With RB’s Confusing Team Orders

Post-Bahrain Grand Prix, Tsunoda has openly voiced his frustrations with the decisions made by his RB team.


By Ben Bush
Published on March 3, 2024

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) RB VCARB 01 2024 Bahrain GP
Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) RB VCARB 01, 2024 Bahrain GP

In the wake of the Bahrain Grand Prix that kicked off the season, Yuki Tsunoda has openly criticised the strategy and team order decisions made by RB.

Tsunoda, who had been in a promising position to secure a top 10 finish at the Bahrain International Circuit, found his chances diminished following a strategic call to pit later than competitors Zhou Guanyu and Kevin Magnussen, which resulted in him falling behind in the race order.

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Struggling to surpass Magnussen’s Haas on the track, Tsunoda was soon challenged by his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who was equipped with soft tyres and quickly closed in. Despite receiving repeated instructions from RB to allow Ricciardo to pass, Tsunoda hesitated to comply initially, only to relent later.

Ultimately, neither Tsunoda nor Ricciardo succeeded in improving their positions, with Ricciardo finishing 13th. Tsunoda later expressed his disappointment with the team’s strategy and the subsequent orders to let Ricciardo pass, indicating a challenging start to the season for the team and its drivers.

“I think strategy didn’t work as well,” he said. I was in the points, driving well and suddenly I dropped to the back of the points. We have to review what’s happened there. I think it has happened before to be honest.

“Well we are fighting outside of the points anyway – P13, P14. I was just overtaking Magnussen, side-by-side, then I was told ‘swap the car’ in the first few laps. To be honest, it’s hard to understand.

“Maybe there was some thoughts on their mind. I have to understand. In the end he didn’t overtake as well.”

Ricciardo revealed that the concept of team orders had been discussed before the race, considering the likelihood of him using the soft tyres during the final laps due to having an extra set available.

“So I was on new softs, he was on the hard,” he added. “This is something we talk about before the race. We are in the strategy meetings together – there’s no secrets. It was quite clear there was a very good chance I’d be finishing the race on a better tyre. If I was coming on a speed advantage then the call would happen.

“It happened too late. I think we got the call close enough but then the reaction was too late.

“With a few laps to go, we lose a few precious laps and then we’re fighting, then every lap I am losing a bit more of my tyre.

“I was a bit disappointed in that but as far as I aware the team made the call so it’s up to Yuki to move over.”

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Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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