Franz Tost will leave his role as AlphaTauri’s Formula 1 team principal at the end of 2023, with current Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies replacing him “at a date to be confirmed” later.
Mekies has long been rumoured to be looking for a move away from Ferrari, which has had several high-profile departures in recent months. Ferrari’s start to the 2023 season has not met pre-season expectations and it’s failed to secure a single podium finish in the first three races.
Tost has been a staple of Red Bull’s second team since its inception and inaugural season in 2006, when it was known as Toro Rosso.
He’s overseen the post-Minardi iteration of the team – including its two race wins and transition to the AlphaTauri name in 2020 – during its entire time in F1 but will step aside at the end of this season as part of a restructuring that the team says is about “securing long-term stability and ensuring continuity”. Of F1’s active team bosses, only Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has been in the post longer than Tost.
The restructuring includes ex-FIA executive Peter Bayer joining as chief executive officer later this year.
Bayer’s role will include “overseeing the strategic direction of the team at its facilities in Faenza and in the UK”.
Tost will be replaced by Mekies but will remain with the team for 2024, switching to a “consultancy role”.
Mekies has also previously worked for the FIA like Bayer and has had a previous stint at AlphaTauri when it was known as Toro Rosso (Mekies pictured below with former Toro Rosso tech chief James Key).
The team’s statement said Mekies would be “responsible for the day-to-day operation of the team, including technical, manufacturing, support function and race team operations and in conjunction with Peter’s strategically focussed role, they will create a new and dynamic leadership team with equal responsibility”.
Mekies paid tribute to Tost’s leadership in AlphaTauri’s statement.
“I wish him [Tost] well for the future and I know that both Peter and I will rely on his input and advice in times to come,” Mekies said.
“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 called it a “great privilege” to become AlphaTauri’s CEO while Tost paid tribute to Red Bull’s owner Dietrich Mateschitz, who died last year.
“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,” Tost said.
“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.
“With 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.”