AlphaTauri ring changes – Tost out, Mekies in

Laurent Mekies (left) will take over as team principal of AlphaTauri from Franz Tost

Laurent Mekies (left) will take over as team principal of AlphaTauri from Franz Tost

AlphaTauri has announced wide-sweeping changes which will see Franz Tost step down as team principal at the end of the current F1 season and Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies take his place.

Peter Bayer, who recently served as F1 executive director and secretary general for sport at the FIA, will join the team later this year as chief executive officer.

The team claims the new senior management structure is “aimed at securing long-term stability and ensuring continuity”.

For Tost, in particular, the moves bring to an end his reign as team boss since the creation of Toro Rosso in 2006. The team was later renamed AlphaTauri in 2020.

Tost said: “First of all, I would like to thank Dietrich Mateschitz, who gave me the incredible opportunity to be team principal of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Scuderia AlphaTauri for the past 18 years.

“It has been a true privilege to lead the team for such a long period and a great pleasure to work with so many motivated and skilled people, who share my passion for Formula 1.

“At 67 years old it is time to hand over, and with Peter as the new CEO and Laurent as team principal, we found two very professional people, who will bring the team to the next level.

“I want to thank everyone for the good co-operation.”

Over the years, Tost has played a key role in nurturing numerous drivers through the Red Bull ranks, with Toro Rosso and AlphaTauri long viewed as a breeding ground that allowed talent to progress into the senior team.

Tost has helped champions Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel progress, as well as a host of other names that include race winners Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz.

In recognition of his longstanding contribution to the team and its drivers, Tost will continue to work with AlphaTauri next year in a consultancy role.

The date of Mekies’ arrival has yet to be confirmed but it means the departure of another senior figure at Ferrari after the Scuderia opted to make a team principal change of its own at the end of last season, replacing Mattia Binotto with Fred Vasseur.

It means a return to the team where Mekies cut his teeth in F1, first as a race engineer and then chief engineer and head of vehicle performance before going on to serve the FIA as safety director and deputy race director prior to joining Ferrari in 2018.

At AlphaTauri, he will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the team, including technical, manufacturing, support function and race team operations

On his new appointment, Mekies said: “Firstly, I’d like to pay tribute to Franz for the great job he has done over almost two decades in charge at Faenza.

“I wish him well for the future and I know that both Peter and I will rely on his input and advice in times to come.

“Looking forward, I am honoured to take on the role of team principal and to return to the team where I spent a large portion of my early career. Scuderia AlphaTauri has all of the ingredients necessary for greater success in the future and in tandem with Peter I’m looking forward to making that happen.”

Bayer will oversee the strategic direction of the team at its facilities in Faenza and in the UK.

Bayer said: “I would also like to thank Franz for his dedication to Scuderia AlphaTauri and its predecessor, Scuderia Toro Rosso.

“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 a great privilege for me, too, to take on the role of CEO at the team and working alongside Laurent.

“Scuderia AlphaTauri has a fantastic team of people and great infrastructure in Faenza and in the UK.

“I am very much looking forward to building on those key elements to increase performance, on and off track, and to bring the team even more success in the coming years.”

Explaining the reasons behind the changes, Oliver Mintzlaff, the chief executive of corporate projects and investments at parent company Red Bull GmbH, said: “Firstly, I would like to thank Franz for his hard work at Scuderia AlphaTauri and Scuderia Toro Rosso over the past 18 years.

“Throughout his time at the team, Franz has been driven by a singular vision – the pursuit of ever more performance from machine and from driver.

“His leadership resulted in outstanding victories and in the development of some of the finest talents ever seen in Formula 1.

“Replacing him as he steps back has not been easy and has resulted in a redefinition of the management structure at the team.

“I am therefore very pleased to welcome Peter as CEO and Laurent as team principal.

“Both have huge experience in top positions in Formula 1 and together I am sure they will take Scuderia AlphaTauri to even greater heights in the future.”

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