Tost: De Vries 'still learning' but will step up with a good car


AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost insists Nyck de Vries will step up his performance, admitting that the Dutchman's apprenticeship in F1 hasn't been helped by the issues impacting the team's 2023 car.

De Vries was added to Red Bull's family of drivers after his remarkable F1 debut and top-ten performance With Williams at last year's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

At 28, the former FIA F2 and Formula E champion has joined the F1 grid late in his career but armed with solid racing experience and a winning track record.

De Vries was outpaced in qualifying and on race day in the firs two races of the season, Bahrain and in Jeddah, by AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda who is currently in his third year with the team.

Taking stock of de Vries' performance relative to Tsunoda after the opening round in Bahrain, Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko said that he would like to see him step it up, a demand also made of Tsunoda ahead of the start of the season.

"Nyck is still learning," replied Tost. "What we have to provide the drivers is a fast car and then they are there.

"Both of them are high-skilled drivers; both of them showed in the past that they can win races, that they can win championships. It’s up to the team to provide them with a competitive car.

"I must say that he is quite familiar with the team, with the engineers and it's - as I just mentioned before, up to us to give him a good, competitive car.

Tost said that de Vries had settled in nicely with the Faenza-based outfit, but acknowledged that the Dutchman's task has been complicated by the troubles impacting AlphaTauri's AT04.

"Nyck will step up," he added. "If he has a good car, then he will be there.

"You know, if you are a young driver, a newcomer in Formula 1, then it's even more difficult if the car causes troubles.

"It’s easier with a competitive car to show good performance. And I'm convinced that Nyck will increase his performance and that he will show us good races."

Tost admitted that he expected AlphaTauri to field a more competitive car, especially after his team of engineers had spoken so highly about the AT04's potential.

However, performances have fallen short of expectations, and Tost has laid the blame at the feet of his engineers, whom he says he no longer trusts!

"Too little downforce," the Austrian said as he explained the At04's main weakness. "Not enough downforce, therefore the car is unstable under braking, overheating the rear tyres, washing-out at the apex, bad traction. Everything what you need to do a good lap time.

"We have to do a lot of things to make the car faster," he added. "And especially on the aerodynamic side.

"There are different programmes going on, but the engineers tell me that we make some good progress, but I don't trust them anymore.

"I just want to see the lap time because this is the only thing which counts."

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