Over the last few months, uncertainty has reined at the Red Bull junior team, AlphaTauri. With big changes in the parent company following the death of their motorsport enthusiast CEO, Dietrich Mateschitz, rumours have been afoot that the underperforming AlphaTauri team, formerly Toro Rosso, are coming. Yesterday, it happened.
After the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix, Saudi Arabia, and Australia, it is becoming apparent that the AlphaTauri is one of the weaker cars in the Formula 1 field this season with team boss Franz Tost shockingly and publically blaming his own design engineers during the weekend in Jeddah.
Tost under huge pressure
With Red Bull’s new boss at the helm, Oliver Mintzlaff is reportedly taking a hard look at F1’s spending. The German press was the source of a story last month that AlphaTauri could be up for sale as a cost-cutting measure putting Tost under huge pressure, especially after he publically announced he had to check for himself with the Red Bull bosses that all was well and the team wasn’t up for sale.
AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost then categorically denied the rumour that his team is for sale due to poor results in 2022, but nothing had been mentioned about the bad start to 2023…
March rumour: AlphaTauri up for sale?
German newspaper Auto Motor Und Sport reported that Red Bull was looking to cut costs in the AlphaTauri project, either by moving the small team from its Italian base to England or, in the worst case, by selling the team.
In a brief press release, Team Principal Franz Tost said that he had received confirmation from the team’s main shareholders that they had no intention of selling the team and that Red Bull (the team’s parent company) would continue to support the team.
“I had very good meetings with Oliver Mintzlaff, who confirmed that the shareholders would not sell Scuderia AlphaTauri, and that Red Bull would continue to support the team in the future,” confirmed Tost.
“All these rumours have no foundation, and the team must remain focused for the start of the season to do better than last year.”
What was perhaps most telling is that normally an unfounded rumour published by a single newspaper or media outlet would simply be ignored and not commented upon. The fact that the boss of AlphaTauri felt the need to issue an official denial on behalf of the team is telling. Red Bull themselves, the owners of the team, remain silent… Something was afoot and Tost knew it.
This website reported on the matter back in March stating that if the recent proceedings are anything to gauge, Tost has been given an ultimately by Red Bull to perform or lose his team.
Former FIA official becomes CEO of AlphaTauri
Well now it seems that Red Bull need a change within AlphaTauri, but it isn’t a team up for sale, rather a big change in the management with Tost being ‘toast’ so as to speak.
Peter Bayer, the former executive director of F1 at the International Automobile Federation, has been appointed CEO of the AlphaTauri team in Formula 1.
In a bid to provide long-term stability and continuity, Scuderia AlphaTauri announced on the eve of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that a new management structure will be put in place at the team.
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— Formula 1 (@F1) April 23, 2023
Tost will remain in 2023
Former FIA executive Peter Bayer will join the team as managing director later this year, while Franz Tost will step down as team boss at the end of the 2023 season. Laurent Mekies, currently sporting director at Ferrari, will join Scuderia AlphaTauri as the new Team Principal at a date to be confirmed.
Peter Bayer joins Scuderia AlphaTauri as CEO after most recently serving as F1 Executive Director and Secretary General for Sport at the FIA. At AlphaTauri, Peter Bayer will oversee the strategic direction of the team at its Faenza facility and in the UK.
“I would first like to thank Franz [Tost] for his dedication to Scuderia AlphaTauri and its predecessor, Scuderia Toro Rosso,” said AlphaTauri’s new CEO Peter Bayer, as part of the announcement of Tost’s departure.
“His commitment to developing young talent has resulted in a Formula 1 grid where 25% of the drivers have benefited from his guidance. It is also a great privilege for me to take on the role of CEO of the team and work alongside Laurent [Mekies].”
“Scuderia AlphaTauri has a fantastic team and excellent infrastructure in Faenza and the UK. I’m very much looking forward to building on these key elements to increase performance, off the track, and bring even more success to the team in the years to come.”
Who is Peter Bayer?
Upon the arrival of new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem in December 2021, as part of the FIA’s reshuffle following the controversy of the season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Bayer’s role was changed to F1 executive director, having served since 2017 as the sport’s Secretary General.
This role allowed him to take responsibility for implementing decisions made by the World Motor Sport Council and work closely with the various FIA Sports Commissions, but the governing body confirmed the day after the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix that he was stepping down with immediate effect.
After a period of “gardening”, Peter Bayer will therefore be able to join the AlphaTauri team in the middle of the year (certainly during the summer) to take up the position of CEO.
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