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RB: Different strategy could have avoided Tsunoda/Ricciardo Bahrain F1 "mess"

RB Formula 1 CEO Peter Bayer admits that a different strategy in the Bahrain Grand Prix could have avoided the team order “mess” involving Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo.

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

The Italian outfit went into the race knowing that Ricciardo would probably be on a more favourable set of new soft tyres in the closing stages, and that there could be a scenario where he found himself behind Tsunoda on hards.

That’s exactly what transpired, and Tsunoda expressed his displeasure when asked to move over and give Ricciardo a shot at passing Kevin Magnussen up ahead.

In the end, Ricciardo couldn’t make any further progress, and they finished 13th and 14th, with the Australian still ahead.

Bayer says that the team felt that it had a sniff of the points after a first-lap collision between Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll compromised the latter, and could have managed the situation 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 told Autosport.

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

Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team VCARB 01

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“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 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.”

Bayer said he had no issue with Tsunoda’s initial reluctance to move over.

“That's normal,” he said. “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.”

After testing in Bahrain, RB had been tipped as a top 10 contender, but that didn’t come to fruition over the race weekend, although Tsunoda qualified an encouraging 11th.

Bayer says that, with no major upgrades in the coming races, the focus is on honing the car as it is.

Laurent Mekies, Team Principal, RB F1 Team, Peter Bayer, CEO of RB F1 Team

Laurent Mekies, Team Principal, RB F1 Team, Peter Bayer, CEO of RB F1 Team

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“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've seen in qualifying, thousandths of seconds. I guess if we forget about Max [Verstappen], it will be a very interesting year!”

Watch: F1 2024 Bahrain GP Review – Red Bull is "In a Different Galaxy"

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