Tost doing his best to 'keep team going' amid forced shutdown

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AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost says the Italian outfit has gone into full lockdown mode as prescribed by authorities, but the Austrian is doing his best to uphold the morale of his troops.

With 64,000 cased and a death toll that now exceeds 7,000, Italy is by far the European country worst hit by the coronavirus.

In an effort to fend off the pandemic, the massively impacted Lombardy region has tightened lockdown restrictions, ordering on Monday all "non-essential" businesses to shut down.

AlphaTauri planned to idle its factory during F1's mandatory three-week break, but all activity has been shut down indefinitely in Faenza.

"Since Monday all businesses in Italy that are not absolutely necessary for life in Italy have been closed," Tost told F1-Insider.

"Our factory is naturally one of them. We actually wanted to produce new parts, but this is no longer possible. So we had to discuss how to proceed."

"Nobody can really say when the season will start, but July is the earliest," believes Tost.

The 64-year-old team boss says he's keeping tabs on his drivers while also "keeping the company going, motivating the employees, advocating for calm".

"I'm calling them alternately; itwas Kvyat on Monday and Gasly on Tuesday," he said.

"I ask them how they are doing, what they're doing. I motivate them as best I can.

"But I can't tell them when normal life will return, only that it will happen at some point and you have to be prepared for that day."


It's still unclear why Italy's Lombardy region emerged as a hot spot for the novel virus, but Tost has his theory.

"For example, an extremely large number of Chinese live in Florence," he noted. "Lombardy, especially the area around Milan, is again a huge industrial area, with a lot of visitors in a confined space.

"The virus took its course like an invisible enemy that was recognized far too late.

"Nobody was prepared for this. Now the hospitals are completely overwhelmed, so there are extreme orders and emergency plans. You have to take the edge off the virus."

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