AlphaTauri respond to Ferrari’s aggressive announcement accusations

Jamie Woodhouse
Franz Tost and Laurent Mekies.

Franz Tost and Laurent Mekies.

Outgoing AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost stressed to a disgruntled Ferrari that the team’s hands were tied on the timing of their announcement that Laurent Mekies will replace him.

It turned out that Tost’s recent retirement hints were indeed a sign of what was to come, as in the lead-up to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix race weekend, it was announced that the F1 2023 campaign would be his final season at the helm of AlphaTauri.

Taking over the reins at a currently unspecified date will be Ferrari’s current race director Mekies, who will step into the team principal role for the first time in his Formula 1 career, supported by Peter Bayer, the former F1 executive director and FIA secretary general, who will take on the AlphaTauri CEO role.

It was an announcement deemed “aggressive” though by Ferrari considering that they had no idea it was coming when it did.

But, Tost assured that AlphaTauri had not planned on announcing Mekies’ upcoming switch at that time, instead they were left without a choice thanks to press leaks.

“The announcement, to tell you the truth, was not planned to come up now, this was planned much later,” Tost is quoted by Motorsport.com.

“But as you all [journalists are] very professional, there were some leaks in the press. And I didn’t want to come here to Baku – it was in the Gazzetta dello Sport, for example, that Laurent will come to us – and to tell all to you, ‘no, I don’t know anything,’ because it’s not the way of how we are working.

“So, we said ‘okay, we go out with the press release.’ It was planned to do at a later time in the year. But now it’s out. And of course, I can imagine that some people are not happy about this.”

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Firstly, there can be absolutely no questioning the incredible contribution which Tost has made to this team.

There since day one of the former Toro Rosso era, the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz laid the early foundations for their Formula 1 careers with the team.

But, with the rebrand to AlphaTauri designed to see the team take its next step, upgraded from Red Bull junior team to sister squad, the opposite has in fact happened, and a poor start to F1 2023 to follow a dismal 2022 campaign suggests that change was indeed needed to find some fresh momentum.

It seems that aside from Red Bull being set on keeping AlphaTauri under their banner, pretty much everything else about the team could be subject to change right now, and that really is not a bad thing.

So, it is a huge, yet exciting challenge for Mekies and Bayer to get stuck into, as AlphaTauri attempt to start really looking like the sister team of Formula 1’s clear dominant force, Red Bull Racing.