Written by Kanzah Maktoum, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri
Franz Tost will step down as team principal of AlphaTauri at the end of the 2023 season. This move comes as part of a new structural reshuffle within the Italian outfit. announced with Laurent Mekies, currently Ferrari’s Sporting Director, rejoining the team. Tost will step down as team principal after 19 seasons at the helm, having been appointed team principal on Red Bull Racing’s takeover of the erstwhile Minardi F1 Team.
On the other hand, the man expected to succeed him as team principal, Mekies experienced several of his earliest triumphs while working with Alpha Tauri, initially as a race engineer, before serving as the team’s Chief Engineer, and Head of Vehicle Performance. Before joining Ferrari in 2018, Laurent served as Safety Director and Deputy Race Director for the FIA for four years, following his first term in Faenza.
Peter Bayer, former executive director of the FIA, will also join AlphaTauri later this season as CEO, with responsibility to manage the team's strategic direction across its facilities, in Italy as well as the UK.
According to Alpha Tauri, Mekies will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the team, including the Technical, Manufacturing, Support Function, and Race Team activities, while Peter will play a strategically focused role.
Laurent Mekies comment on his appointment as Tost’s successor:
“Firstly, I’d like to pay tribute to Franz for the great job he has done over almost two decades in charge at Faenza," said Mekies.
"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 too had warm words for Franz Tost, on his tenure at the helm of AlphaTauri:
“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 an off track, and to bring the Team even more success in the coming years."
And finally, the outgoing Tost had some kind words for his current outfit, while also looking to the future:
“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 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 cooperation.”