AlphaTauri chief executive Peter Bayer has spoken of his gratitude to members of Red Bull’s hierarchy for easing his move into F1 management.
Bayer was announced as AlphaTauri CEO last summer in a period of great change for the Red Bull junior team, whose long-serving team principal Franz Tost exited at the end of the 2023 season.
The Austrian’s appointment was regarded as a major coup having previously worked under former president Jean Todt at the FIA, as well as in winter sports, sailing and the International Olympic Committee.
AlphaTauri boss grateful for Red Bull guidance
Reflecting on his first six months at AlphaTauri, Bayer thanked Tost for his guidance and reserved special praise for Red Bull’s controversial advisor Helmut Marko, recalling a moment at July’s Hungarian Grand Prix when Marko took him aside to offer some perspective.
He told RacingNews365: “It was a great year because Franz was by my side. Franz will always remain a friend. But it’s also clear that I talk to Helmut a lot. He has a wealth of knowledge.
“There was a situation when I was extremely angry and felt the pressure as overwhelming. You come and think you can make a contribution, which then fails. Helmut took me aside in Budapest and looked at a book about his Le Mans participation in the 1970s.
“There was a picture in it of how they drove 400 kilometres per hour on the straight. He looked at me and said, ‘You look stressed’, to which I responded: ‘I am.’
“Helmut pointed to the photo and said: ‘This is scary, take it easy.’
“Helmut may have the image of a difficult person, but at the right moment he can come to you, give you a pat on the shoulder and say: ‘It will be OK.’ That’s nice and very helpful.
“And operationally, the door is always open with Christian [Horner, Red Bull team principal], who supports us. We are privileged in that, so I enjoy it.”
Under the leadership of new team principal Laurent Mekies, the former Ferrari sporting director, AlphaTauri are set to forge closer ties with parent team Red Bull in 2024.
The new arrangement has been likened to Haas’s relationship with Ferrari, whereby the American team use as many Ferrari-built components as is allowed under F1’s regulations, and is expected to result in a major boost in competitiveness this year.
AlphaTauri finished a disappointing eighth in the 2023 Constructors’ standings, with drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda remaining with the team for 2024.
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