Tost addresses 'not trusting team engineers' comments

Franz Tost (AUT) AlphaTauri Team Principal in the FIA Press Conference. 24.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Practice Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images
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Last week's season finale in Abu Dhabi marked the last occasion that Franz Tost would be present as team principal of AlphaTauri, after 18 often controversial years in charge at Faenza.

At the start of his final season in charge, 67-year-old Tost memorably raged at the squad's engineers after finishing the first two races of 2023 without points, saying he didn't trust them anymore.

AlphaTauri only scored points in four of the first 17 races of the year, but the squad did finish on something of a roll with Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo collecting 20 points in the final five races.

It put them just three points away from overhauling Williams for seventh place in the constructors standings, when they had been at the bottom of the table as recently as the United States GP.

Looking back over the season, Tost was keen to revisit the controversy over his comments following the Saudi Arabian GP in March, saying that his comments had not meant to be interpreted as being as critical as they had been.

“The engineers whom I meant; they understood it," he said last week. “I must tell you the background story.

“Our car last year was not competitive. I said we have to do something, because I cannot accept that we are rolling around in the back of the field. I wanted to be at least in the front part of the midfield.

"[They told me]: ‘Yeah, yeah, we're working very hard and we have solutions, we know exactly what we have to do.’

“I visited them at the aero department. They told me figures and they said ‘The car will be fantastic. Really good performance. Very good figures in CFT as well as in the wind tunnel, blah blah blah.’

(L to R): Peter Bayer, AlphaTauri Chief Executive Officer on the grid with Franz Tost (AUT) AlphaTauri Team Principal.
03.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race Day.
-, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

“Then we came to Bahrain and I did not need to wait for the race, I knew already after the test that we are nowhere," he lamented. "I got upset and I said to them, ‘What's going on?’

“‘Oh, you know, there's coming an upgrade', [they replied]. I said, ‘I don't care about an upgrade, this car must perform well'. Then in the press conference I was asked about this and I said, ‘I don't trust them anymore.’

After that public display of frustration, Tost announced the following month that he would be stepping down as team principal at the en dof the season. His role will be taken by Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies.

Since the death of Red Bull drinks billionaire Dieter Mateschitz, the team is moving toward closer ties with its sister Red Bull Racing team, including moving some operations from Faenza to Bicester.

The squad will be renamed over the winter for the second time in four years having previously raced under the name Toro Rosso and launched future F1 stars including Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

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