Departed F1 team boss opens up on ‘I no longer trust my engineers’ bombshell

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen leads the field at the start of the F1 2023 Monaco Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen leads the field at the start of the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix.

Retired AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost revisited his shock “no longer trust my engineers” claim, confirming said engineers were ousted and fresh minds brought in.

F1 2023 marked Tost’s final season as AlphaTauri team boss before going into semi-retirement, as he now moves into the role of Red Bull’s stand-by consultant for 2024 and 2025.

The campaign got off to a frustrating start for AlphaTauri and Tost, unhappy with how Red Bull’s junior team started out, caused a stir by telling the media that he had lost trust in his engineers.

Franz Tost acted on scathing engineer criticism

Appearing on the Beyond the Grid podcast, Tost’s claim was revisited as he discussed the aftermath, explaining how he followed through on his frustrations by axing those he did not trust from the team.

“The engineers whom I meant; they understood it,” said Tost.

“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.” recommends

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Acceptably is perhaps something of an understatement, with AlphaTauri staking their claim for most improved team in the second-half of F1 2023, as they went from back-of-the-grid strugglers to contending for points on a regular basis.

So as Red Bull increase the synergies with their junior team, as far as the regulations allow, already AlphaTauri are delivering the results as Tost spoke of how the new engineering recruits are making their impact be felt.

Asked by media at the Abu Dhabi GP why AlphaTauri’s upgrade schedule had not delivered up until this late stage of F1 2023, Tost replied: “Because the wrong people were in the wrong place.

“We brought in new people. I realised last year in March, April, that from the aero side, we are not going in the right direction. We had the wrong philosophy.

“And so it’s difficult to convince engineers to go into another direction, because they will never attempt this. Therefore, it’s better to bring other people in. This is what we did.

“Until these people can work, you wait a year and this was the problem which we had, that they could start only in April this year. Although we recognised that we had problems last year already.

“And the team still has not been fully recruited, still coming some other aerodynamic people.

“And why I was pushing so much to bring the upgrades is to get an understanding whether this new group goes in the right direction from the philosophy, because otherwise also next year would have been a problem and this is what I wanted to prevent under all circumstances.

“And the reason why everything came together in the second half of the year was simply because we didn’t have these new people beforehand.”

AlphaTauri mounted a late push for P7 in the Constructors’ Championship, but ultimately had to settle for P8, three points adrift of Williams.

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