Franz Tost ‘doesn’t trust’ AlphaTauri engineers anymore after off-season claims

Sam Cooper
Franz Tost speaking during a press conference. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

Franz Tost speaking during a press conference. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

Franz Tost has hit out at his own team, going as far as to say he does not trust them anymore, following claims of major improvements over the winter.

Tost may have been in the team principal position since 2006 but would appear to be under more pressure than ever before following a dismal 2022 season.

AlphaTauri finished P9 in the Constructors’ standings before losing Pierre Gasly to Alpine and although Red Bull have denied claims they are looking to sell their sister team, Helmut Marko did say this week that AlphaTauri had underperformed both on track and financially.

Hopes that 2023 would offer something different came to nothing in Bahrain with Yuki Tsunoda finishing P11 while rookie Nyck de Vries ended his first race with the team in 14th place.

But Tost was not impressed with what he saw, revealing that he had expected much more after what his engineers told him over the winter break.

“Unfortunately I think it’s currently the performance level of the car because we expected a much better car [but] we struggled in Bahrain,” Tost said during the pre-Saudi Arabia press conference.

“It looks a little bit different here, I hope that at least we’re with one car in Q3. But we have to do a lot of things to make the car faster, especially on the aerodynamic side, there are different programmes going on.

“The engineers tell me we make some good progress but I don’t trust them anymore, I just want to see the lap time because this is the only thing that counts.

“Because during the winter months they [the engineers] told me, ‘the car is fantastic, [we] made big progress’ then we came to Bahrain and we are nowhere.

“What should I say?”

Tost was then asked if he was giving his team some “tough love” but he fired back with an emphatic no.

“I don’t care about that, I just want to see a fast car whether tough or not. I simply don’t care,” Tost said.

“There’s not enough downforce therefore the car is unstable under braking, and overheats the rear tyres. Washing out at the apex, that [impacts] traction. Everything that you need to do a good lap time.

“Here in Jeddah the characteristic of the race track is completely different and both drivers are not satisfied with the car but satisfied that the car feels better than in Bahrain.

“Still [we] have some understeer problems that we have to get rid of and the rest we will see.”

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When it comes to upgrades, like many teams, Tost said AlphaTauri would be able to develop in the next few races but he said he had lost faith in the numbers coming out of their Faenza base.

“It’s within our programme that we bring to nearly every race a small upgrade.

“The question is now, do we go in the right direction?

“As I mentioned before, during the winter months we saw that at least on paper, on the computer, we made big progress in comparison to last year’s car.

“But all these figures nowadays as I mentioned before I don’t trust them now.

“I want to see now with the next steps that we go in the right direction, that we can improve the performance of the car, that we are able to do this and this is a specialism work on the floor, brake ducts, and all the other aerodynamic parts.

“I think now with all the knowledge we have after the Bahrain test and after the Bahrain race, the engineers should be in a position to sort it out and come up with new parts which improve the performance of the car.”