AlphaTauri dismiss Frederic Vasseur’s remark about poaching from Ferrari

Ferrari’s assistant team principal Laurent Mekies was recently announced as Franz Tost’s replacement as AlphaTauri’s team principal.

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has defended his team’s decision to poach Laurent Mekies from Ferrari, as the Red Bull junior team looks to desperately improve its poor performance on track.

Laurent Mekies was announced as Tost’s replacement ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with AlphaTauri’s long-serving team principal stepping away from the team at the end of the season.

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur blasted the “aggressive” announcement, as he claimed that the terms of Mekies’ departure had not been finalised yet.

“They were a bit aggressive with the press release,” Vasseur said in Azerbaijan. 

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“Especially considering the long contract period.”  

However, Tost defended the timing of the announcement, arguing that it was not designed to cause any problems for Ferrari amid the Italian team’s ongoing woes this season.

“To be honest, we didn’t plan the announcement for this week either,” Tost told De Telegraaf newspaper. 

“But it was already seeping out through the media and I didn’t want to sit here all weekend saying I didn’t know or didn’t want to comment.

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“So we thought ‘Let’s throw out the press release’. I can understand that some people are not happy about that.”

AlphaTauri’s decision to shake up their team by replacing Tost, who has led the Constructor under different iterations since 2005, comes as the team finds itself in ninth in the Constructors’ Standings with just two points.

READ: Lewis Hamilton criticises Azerbaijan GP format

Both points were delivered by Yuki Tsunoda, while new driver Nyck De Vries remains one of only two drivers to have not scored a point in the 2023 season.

De Vries would have hoped to bag at least one point in Azerbaijan but a crash in qualifying on Friday and an early departure from the Grand Prix meant he remains in 20th in the Drivers’ Standings.