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Laurent Mekies eager to see RB's Yuki Tsunoda level up his driving in 2024

RB team boss Laurent Mekies has emphasised the need for Yuki Tsunoda to take the "next step" in his Formula One development this season.

The Japanese driver, now in his fourth season in F1, initially debuted with the team when it was known as AlphaTauri back in 2021.

Mekies highlighted Tsunoda's progress since his debut and praised his consistent performance throughout 2023, especially considering the changes in the team following the departure of his former teammate Nyck de Vries.

With Daniel Ricciardo as his teammate for the 2024 season, Tsunoda has a "fantastic reference point" to further enhance his skills and capabilities on the track. 

Mekies expressed optimism about Tsunoda's potential growth racing alongside the experienced Ricciardo, indicating a strategic approach to harnessing Tsunoda's talent and maximising his contribution to the team's success.

"It's fantastic in the way we are evaluating Yuki, the way we are trying to grow Yuki, to have Daniel with him," Mekies told F1's Beyond The Grid podcast. 

"It gives a fantastic reference point and, therefore, for us, it's as good as it gets to have the experience and the speed of Daniel, to have the raw speed and youth of Yuki.

"What we are looking for from Yuki is that he does that next step. The top guys, they make steps. They come and understand something more about the tyres, they will be able to go faster in given situations.

"The core feelings they have in the car, how they link what they feel in the car with what they exchange with their engineers, how deep the relationship they can build with the team is. If you have the bandwidth for that, your understanding of the car increases.

"If you have the capacity to utilise it when you’re driving then you will go faster. Yuki is growing this capacity year after year and this is why there is still speed to come. He has been surprising the F1 world every single year. He's in the fourth year. Is he going to keep surprising? That's the question we have to answer."

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