The recent 2023 season finale in Abu Dhabi brought Franz Tost’s 18-year spell as AlphaTauri’s team principal to an end, with him having since revealed the story behind one of his most shocking comments.
Tost’s tenure at the Red Bull sister team started at the very beginning of their Formula 1 journey in 2006, when they fielded Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Since then, the Faenza-based squad have gone onto have some of the sport’s brightest stars race for them, such as, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly.
Tost has overseen all of it, although it’s now time for ex-Ferrari race director Laurent Mekies to take control of the team.
AlphaTauri’s imminent rebrand very much marks the start of a new beginning for the team, who have so much to thank Tost for.
Under Tost’s guidance, Vettel and Gasly both claimed their maiden F1 wins, which both occurred at Monza.
Whilst Tost has so many fond memories of the team, it’s no secret that the last two years have been incredibly challenging.
With the exception of the latter stages of the 2023 season, AlphaTauri were often found at the bottom of the pecking order, largely due to having opted to follow their own development path.
Trying to move away from Red Bull was the side’s biggest mistake, resulting in Tost taking action at the very beginning of the recently completed campaign.
After the season-opener in Bahrain, Tost shockingly told the media that he didn’t “trust” his engineers in the team’s aero department, who’d told him ahead of the season that the AT04 “will be fantastic”.
Until the side started to take inspiration from Red Bull, the AT04 was woeful, with Tost having replaced those who told him the AT04 would be a great car.
Since replacing them, he admits that the upgrades introduced throughout the season “worked acceptably”.
“The engineers whom I meant; they understood it,” Franz said, as reported by Crash.net.
“I must tell you the background story.
“Our car last year was not competitive. Then I said we have to do something, because I cannot accept that we are rolling around in the back of the field, I want to be at least in the front part of the midfield.
“‘Yeah, yeah. We are 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, and blah blah blah.’
“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.
“Then I got upset and I said to them, ‘what’s going on?’
“‘Oh, you know, there’s coming an upgrade.’
“I said, ‘I don’t care about an upgrade. This car must perform well.’
“Then, in your press conference, I was asked about this and I said, ‘I don’t trust them anymore.’
“If I don’t trust anymore the people, then they are out. This was the case.
“We changed them and brought in some new people, so we have now hopefully a good team in the aero department.
“I must say, all the upgrades they brought this year so far worked acceptably.”