Franz Tost explains why he decided to quit AlphaTauri

2023 is Franz Tost's 18th and final season as AlphaTauri's team principal, with Laurent Mekies set to replace him.

Following some speculation, it was officially confirmed ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost would be leaving the Faenza-based team at the end of 2023, with Ferrari’s racing director Laurent Mekies to replace him in 2024.

Tost is one of the longest-serving members of the Formula 1 paddock, with the Austrian having led AlphaTauri since they were entered into the sport as Toro Rosso in 2006.

Seeing another man in charge of Red Bull’s sister team will certainly be odd, given that 2023 is Tost’s 18th season in charge of AlphaTauri.

Despite having been their team principal for so long, Tost isn’t exactly pleased for his time with the team to be coming to an end, with him ultimately being a fan of “the challenge”.

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“No, my shoulders are still strong,” Tost joked to GPblog and others. “And generally I like the challenge, I like the pressure, and this was not a problem, for me, not a problem.”

So what exactly does the future hold for Tost once he’s left AlphaTauri and the Red Bull family?

As it stands, he’s unsure, with his initial plan being “to take a step back” and assess his options.

“Don’t know yet, was asked already, but don’t know yet, it’s not decided,” said Tost.

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“First of all, I want to take a step back, and then to see whether I will be involved in such a project or not, it’s not decided yet.”

One thing Tost certainly won’t be doing in the future is returning to AlphaTauri once Mekies has taken up his team boss position.

Tost is set to somewhat hand over the role to Mekies once the Frenchman makes the move from Ferrari; however, once that’s been completed Tost is planning to let the new team principal get on with the job.

“Yeah, but I can tell you now I’m not the guy to look behind the shoulders of what Peter and Laurent will do,” Tost added.

“They are really very good, and they know what to do. I will be there at the beginning when they are coming, one month or so, but then 100 per cent I will step back. I am not the person to advise someone or tell someone what to do.

“They know it. It’s also important, this is also a personal desire and wish from my side. The team has to step up, come to another level. I have been there for 18 years, and it’s good.”

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Tost leaving does mark a significant change in F1, with him being as experienced as he is.

The Austrian is more than aware, though, that new faces have to be brought in to generate fresh ideas, with Tost admitting that Mekies can lead the team “better” than he ever did.

“Formula 1 is developing very fast, they have maybe different points of view, and they should do it. I am convinced they can do it much better than myself, therefore it’s better if I shut my mouth,” he concluded.