After the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix and the first practice sessions in Saudi Arabia, it is becoming apparent that the AlphaTauri is one of the weakest cars in the Formula 1 field this season. For team boss Franz Tost, this comes as quite a surprise, which is why he now publically criticised his own technical department in a remarkably harsh manner during a time that see’s his team potentially up for sale this year.
“During the winter months [the engineers] told me the car was fantastic and that we had made great progress. Then we come to Bahrain and we’re in no-man’s land. What can I say to that?” according to GP Fans who quoted the Austrian in Jeddah on Friday.
“I don’t trust them anymore…”
Tost is unlikely to believe claims of improvements in the next races too seriously. “I don’t trust them anymore. I want to see it in the lap time, that’s all that matters,” the 67-year-old rumbled on.
AlphaTauri had finished qualifying in Bahrain with Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda only 18th and 14th. In the race, the retirements of the competition pushed both cars a bit forward. But it was not enough for points.
In the important second practice session in Saudi Arabia on Friday evening, the Red Bull junior racing team again only finished P13 for Tsunoda and P17 for de Vries. A situation far from ideal when rumours started this year about the potential sale of AlphaTauri by parent company Red Bull.
Team sale rumour
With the new boss of Red Bull in charge, it is said that Oliver Mintzlaff is looking carefully at the spend in Formula 1. The German press broke the story last month that AlphaTauri could be sold to save costs. Something Franz Tost himself denied publically with a silent Red Bull neither confirming nor denying it.
The performance of AlphaTauri in 2022 has been poor, and one would not be surprised at all to hear that Franz Tost has been given the proverbial ‘kick up the arse’ by parent company Red Bull, who’s new CEO Oliver Mintzlaff is not a motorsport fan (unlike the recently deceased founder Dietrich Mateschitz).
Similar problems to Mercedes?
After the weak start to the season, Tost points to clear technical disadvantages compared to the competition. There is a lot of catching up to do, especially on the underbody and the brake covers.
Similar to Mercedes, however, the team is facing some fundamental questions in car design. Whether the problems can be solved at all within the budget cap is therefore an open question.
But that did not stop the team boss from taking his factory staff to task.
“With all the experience from testing in Bahrain and the race, the engineers should be able to get to grips with this and deliver parts that improve the car. What I want to see now are steps in the right direction.”
Clearly a man under outside pressure.
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