Franz Tost denies he was fired by Red Bull

Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies will replace Franz Tost as the team principal of Scuderia AlphaTauri in 2024.

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has revealed that it was his choice to step-down at the end of the 2023 season, following suggestions that he’d actually been sacked by Red Bull CEO Oliver Mintzlaff.

Tost has led the Faenza-based team ever since they entered Formula 1 back in 2006, 17 years ago.

He’s an experienced head both in the garage and in the paddock, who will be missed by the Red Bull sister side.

It was announced ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that he’ll be replaced by Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies, who is expected to make the switch from Maranello in 2024.

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Mekies has actually worked with Tost before when AlphaTauri were known as Toro Rosso, with the Austrian having joked that he told the Frenchman to leave the team before finding his way back.

“Laurent started with us,” Tost said, as reported by, “and I remember joking with him five, six or seven years ago ‘you have to go to another team now to be educated and learn something – and then you come back’.”

With so much having changed at Red Bull since the death of co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz, it was discussed whether leaving the team was actually Tost’s choice, or the decision of Mintzlaff.

Others suggested that Tost could actually replace advisor Dr Helmut Marko, who celebrated his 80th birthday in Baku.

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Replacing Marko certainly isn’t on the cards for Tost, with the 67-year-old believing that “it’s the best time to leave”.

“I think it’s the best time to leave Formula 1,” Tost admitted.

“Helmut will be here another 80 years,” he joked.

Tost is also insistent that leaving was “my decision” and no one else’s, with the AlphaTauri boss actually being pleased to see that he’s being replaced by “two fantastic people”.

“It was my decision,” Tost insisted, “and it was taken two years ago.

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“I discussed it with Dietrich at the time, because I am 67 and when I was younger I always said to myself that leaders shouldn’t stay glued to the seat.

“I’d rather give that job to younger people, smarter people, creative people, motivated people. Now that I am approaching my 70th year, it is time to say goodbye.

“I love Formula 1, but it’s a story that has to end, and especially now that with Peter Bayer as CEO and Laurent Mekies, we have two fantastic people who will replace me.”