Daniel Ricciardo opens up on senior retirement

Franz Tost has retired after 13 years of leading AlphaTauri, with ex-Ferrari race director Laurent Mekies taking his place.

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that AlphaTauri will miss Franz Tost “tremendously” with the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix having been his last as the side’s team principal.

Tost has opted to finally retire, having led the Faenza-based squad since they entered the Formula 1 grid in 2006.

He’s seen an incredible amount since then, with Ricciardo being hopeful that Tost can “enjoy putting his feet up”.

Having first raced for Red Bull’s sister team back in 2012, a time when he was just a young driver looking to make his mark in the pinnacle of motorsport.

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Ricciardo remembers his first interaction with Tost well and how he entered the former team boss’ office “with a smile”, resulting in a comical look from Tost.

In many ways, Ricciardo believes Tost is similar to Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, in that both men helped him “mature a little quicker and ultimately grow up”.

The eight-time F1 race winner also revealed how Tost used to get so involved “in every debrief”, simply because racing is “his passion”.

Tost not leading AlphaTauri is certainly going to be very strange and will take the team some time to get used to.

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“I’d say tremendously. I think for the team, he’s been everything, obviously starting off in the Toro Rosso days, or my first full season in F1,” Ricciardo said, as per the official F1 website.

“I remember quite vividly the first meeting I had in his office and I kind of bounced in with a smile. I think he looked at me like… He tried to prepare me for what’s ahead. It’s a serious sport and it’s a tough old world.

“I think he was very honest with me as well, but it made me… A little bit the same as with [Red Bull advisor] Helmut [Marko], it kind of made me mature a little quicker and ultimately grow up.”

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Ricciardo continued: “I think Franz has always been really involved. He’s in every debrief, he’ll normally speak as well in debriefs and give some analysis or advice or anything he’s seen. He’s fully involved in it and it’s his passion.

“It’s been everything that’s kind of given him drive for so many years. I hope he can enjoy putting his feet up a little bit next year. I’m not sure fully what that’s going to entail for him, but I really hope he’s able to enjoy some R&R.”

For 2024, Tost has been replaced by ex-Ferrari race director Laurent Mekies, who has never been a team principal before.