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Helmut Marko: Tsunoda “Definitely” going to be Japan’s first F1 world champion

Yuki Tsunoda. Credits: Red Bull

Helmut Marko sets the bar high for his latest F1 recruit as the 77 years old thinks Tsunoda will be Japan’s first F1 world champion.

Helmut Marko did everything he could to give Tsunoda a quick opportunity to enter Formula One. Indeed, the Japanese driver had a storming single-seater career before entering the pinnacle category of motorsports as he never stayed more than a year in each category where he raced.

“We brought him in Europe. (…) One season in F3, one season in F2, nobody noticed it and bang, in Formula 1,” says Marko.

Red Bull’s academy director admitted he fell in love with Tsunoda’s talent as well as his great character off-track and thinks that the world of Formula One will feel the same for the young prodigy soon enough.

“He’s smart and as I said, for 20 years, very mature,” says Marko.

“Soon he will be a new star Formula 1. (…) They all like him. He is a charming, 20-year-old Japanese guy with a sense of humor,” he added.

For his first Formula One weekend Tsunoda had an impressive race where he showed great overtaking ability. However, he did not manage to make it into Q3 on Saturday. Marko, therefore, questioned the team’s decision of letting him try qualifying on medium tires for his first-ever qualifying session.

“I think the team should have given him soft tires for his very, very first qualifying, so he underperformed, (…) It would have been easier for him because he doesn’t have any routine in qualifying.” the Austrian manager says.

Nonetheless, Helmut Marko remains very positive and thinks Tsunoda has great future insight as he is convinced the Japanese Rookie will be a Formula One world champion at some point in his career.

“Definitely,” Marko stated to, asked whether he thinks or not Tsunoda will be Japan’s first world champion.

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