After Franz Tost announced his departure, Toto Wolff jokingly said he hopes Red Bull’s Christian Horner is next out the door.
Tost is currently the second-longest serving team principal on the grid having joined the sport in 2005 after Red Bull purchased the former Minardi outfit and rebranded it as Toro Rosso.
But that is set to change at the end of the 2023 season with the 67-year-old deciding now is the time to retire and Ferrari’s Laurent Mekies has been lined up to replace him.
With Tost’s departure, Christian Horner remains as the longest-serving boss while Mercedes’ Wolff moves up to second having joined the Silver Arrows in January 2013.
Those three were grouped together for a recent press conference shortly before the Miami Grand Prix and the Austrian joked which team principal he hopes is next out the door.
“First I want to say something about Franz, because of course we are both Austrian and so we have a history,” Wolff said.
“We both started racing at the old Red Bull Ring and were both instructors at the same racing school. Of course Franz was there before me for 45 years. But we actually missed each other just by a bit, by a few years. So we’ve come a long way together.
“Are you the longest-serving team boss of all of us,” Wolff asked Tost. “Or is that you Christian?
“Okay. Then you’re the next one to stop, right. That would make my life so much easier.”
Wolff then praised Tost on “an amazing career” and said “there are not many of us who have been there for quite some time, so congratulations for everything you’ve achieved.”
Ferrari and AlphaTauri in tug-of-war for Laurent Mekies
Mekies has already been named as Tost’s successor but it appears the two Italian teams in Formula 1 disagree about just when the Frenchman will be able to make the move.
While Tost’s departure date is confirmed the arrival date of Mekies remains a mystery with the 46-year-old currently under a long contract at Ferrari.
The Maranello outfit appear unwilling to budge on Mekies serving out that deal but Autosport recently reported Ferrari would be willing to let him go, provided Red Bull do the same with some of the staff Ferrari are trying to poach.
Ferrari had been linked to Red Bull head of aerodynamics Enrico Balbo and technical director Pierre Wache but Horner later denied those claims, stating there was no “hostage exchange” between the two teams.