F1 News, Reports and Race Results

Bayer: Ricciardo/Tsunoda ‘mess’ avoidable with alternate strategy

RB chief executive Peter Bayer believes the on-track bickering between Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo at the end of last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix could have been avoided with an alternate strategy.

The team had opted to start both its drivers on the soft compound, like the majority of the field. However, it had been decided that Ricciardo would revert to the softs for his final stint in the 57-lap event while Tsunoda would conclude his evening with a second set of hards.

It was anticipated that such a strategy would likely see Ricciardo reel in Tsunoda in the closing stages of the race thanks to his softer rubber, which is exactly what happened.

But this led to a tense situation where the Japanese driver displayed visible frustration when instructed to let his teammate pass and attempt to chase down Kevin Magnussen for a potential championship point.

Ultimately, Ricciardo was unable to further improve his position, the Aussie finishing in 13th position just ahead of Tsunoda.

Bayer justified the team’s strategy, stating that they saw an opportunity for points after a first-lap incident involving Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll.

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However, he acknowledged that a different strategic approach could have helped the team capitalize on this window more effectively.

“We knew that in terms of pace, if you're looking at the top five teams, if they deliver, for anyone else, it's going to be very, very difficult,” Bayer said, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“For us there was a window that opened with Stroll and Hulkenberg. And that meant that from that moment on, if we [had] executed perfectly well, probably there was a chance to at least get to P10.

©RB

“I think we should have focused on Stroll, and covered Stroll on lap 29. He did 28, we should have covered him in 29. It would have avoided first of all the fight with Magnussen, and it would have avoided the mess between the drivers. But it's always easier afterwards.

“As far as the team order thing is concerned, yes we discussed it. We gave Yuki a heads-up and said, ‘Look you need to you need to overtake Magnussen, and otherwise we need to swap’.

“He had two laps and didn't make it. So we said let's swap. We discussed it with him.”

As far as Bayer was concerned, Tsunoda’s irate reaction was just par for the course given the circumstances.

“That's normal,” he added. “We know he's an emotional driver, he is a quick driver.

“And it's not easy probably, because they're in the zone, and they feel they can do it. But we see from the data that they won't, so we have to make those decisions.”

©RB

Assessing RB’s relative performance in Bahrain, Bayer noted that the team’s new car was never really in contention for points on its own merit.

However, the Faenza-based squad is determined to improve in the short term by working on the balance of its design before its development programme kicks in.

“For now, it's really focusing on fine-tuning car balance,” he said. “It's interesting, Yuki seems to be quite happy with the balance.

“Daniel still wants a bit more front, which we actually we managed to find now. In the final stint, we managed to find that set-up for him.

“And so again we learned a lot this weekend, and we'll take the fight to the guys next week in Jeddah.

"It's very, very close. It's within tenths, and as we have seen in qualifying, thousandths of seconds. I guess if we forget about Max [Verstappen], it will be a very interesting year!”

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Phillip van Osten

Motor racing was a backdrop from the outset in Phillip van Osten's life. Born in Southern California, Phillip grew up with the sights and sounds of fast cars thanks to his father, Dick van Osten, an editor and writer for Auto Speed and Sport and Motor Trend. Phillip's passion for racing grew even more when his family moved to Europe and he became acquainted with the extraordinary world of Grand Prix racing. He was an early contributor to the monthly French F1i Magazine, often providing a historic or business perspective on Formula 1's affairs. In 2012, he co-authored along with fellow journalist Pierre Van Vliet the English-language adaptation of a limited edition book devoted to the great Belgian driver Jacky Ickx. He also authored "The American Legacy in Formula 1", a book which recounts the trials and tribulations of American drivers in Grand Prix racing. Phillip is also a commentator for Belgian broadcaster Be.TV for the US Indycar series.

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