Seats for the grid of pinnacle motorsport in 2023 were set and it was announced that Pierre Gasly was leaving AlphaTauri to make his way to Alpine and then hand over to 27-year-old Nyck de Vries, who will now be a teammate to Yuki Tsunoda.
When questioned on the day of the official announcement, Helmut Marko was quick to state that he expects the Dutchman to take on the role of the natural team leader thanks to his experience in Formula E, Formula 2 and sportscars, despite Tsunoda's two seasons in F1 under his belt compared to De Vries.
"Yuki is young and doesn’t have this experience and background, so [Nyck] should lead the team,"
"We will see how it goes next year, but from the experience and the personality he has, he should be the team leader."
The Japanese driver played down the Red Bull advisor's comments, saying that the driver who proves to be the fastest on track will be the "leader".
"Well, the faster guy is going to be leading the team anyway.
"So, I don’t care, team leader or not, I'm just focused on my job, lots of things to learn and improve.
"Obviously, I'm still more responsible than this year, because Pierre is going to leave. But still, I'm having strong confidence I can achieve that. I’ll be back stronger."
He did not shy away from commenting on all that he improved in another year in the category and thanked the Frenchman for the time they spent as teammates.
"I think overall for this season, I’ve always progressed every race pretty well, and I’m pretty happy about the shape I ended up this year," the 22-year-old Japanese explained.
"Obviously, I still need a lot of improvement, especially consistency, but at least I’m clear about the target for next year.
"Also a big thank you to Pierre. The last two years, without him I couldn’t achieve this much progress and I learned a lot of things from him. I’ll miss him, but it was a pleasure to work with him."