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Christian Horner

Horner makes Tsunoda admission as Perez axe rumours swirl

Christian Horner is not ruling out Yuki Tsunoda moving up to the main Red Bull team in the future, as speculation surrounding the Red Bull and RB driver line-ups ramps up.

Horner
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Christian Horner is not ruling out Yuki Tsunoda being promoted to the main Red Bull team in the future.

The Japanese driver is having a strong season for RB, where he has out-shined experienced team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

However, whilst the Australian's name has consistently been linked to re-joining Red Bull - potentially in place of under-performing Sergio Perez - Tsunoda has not, despite his better performances.

As pressure mounts on the Mexican driver, RB reserve Liam Lawson has also been touted as an option. The New Zealander acquitted himself well during a five-race stint last season when he deputised for the injured Ricciardo.

However, unlike his colleagues, Tsunoda has seldom been linked to graduating to Max Verstappen's team-mate.

"You can never rule anything out," Horner replied when asked by RacingNews365 if the 24-year-old could step up to the main team in the future. "We have options for multiple years on him because we believe he's a talent."

Despite this, Tsunoda has never been afforded the opportunity of a test in a Red Bull, something that has been extended to Lawson, who will test for the team at Silverstone on Thursday.

"He's a Red Bull Racing driver. He's on a Red Bull Racing contract," Horner said after being questioned as to why the Japanese driver had not been given a similar chance in the past, before adding: "You never know. Maybe he'll get a test one day. You never know."

Tsunoda benefitting from Ricciardo

It is a situation that has parallels to the test Ricciardo had at Silverstone after last year's British Grand Prix, albeit on behalf of Pirelli, something that ultimately led to Nyck de Vries being cut from AlphaTauri.

Whilst Tsunoda is not in danger of losing his RB seat, there does not appear to be the immediate pathwas forward that are available to his Australian team-mate or Lawson.

Despite this, Horner was keen to emphasise the Japanese driver's performance this season which he feels is in part due to working closely with Ricciardo.

Tsunoda brought his RB home in 10th place at Silverstone after qualifying P13. Meanwhile, Ricciardo moved forward from P15 on the grid to finish where his team-mate started.

"I think Yuki's doing a good job," said the 50-year-old. "He got another point, he's stringing weekends together, he's doing a good job.

"I think he's benefited from having Daniel [Ricciardo] alongside him. He'll openly admit that he's learned from Daniel, in terms of having an experienced driver and how they interact with the team and the engineers. 

"Yuki's not a rookie anymore. He's got quite a lot of experience now under his belt, and you can see he's putting that to good use - and in difficult conditions like today, I thought he drove a very good race."

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