Ricciardo says Tost will be missed ‘tremendously’ as Gasly pays tribute to ‘unique character’
Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly have both offered words of appreciation to Franz Tost as the long-time Formula 1 team boss heads into retirement following the 2023 season.
Tost made his final appearance as AlphaTauri’s Team Principal – formerly known as Toro Rosso – at the recent Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, concluding a mammoth 18-year stint in the role.
During his time at the helm, the Austrian helped to develop a host of talented Red Bull-backed drivers, from future world champions Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen to future race winners in Ricciardo and Gasly.
Asked how much AlphaTauri and F1 as a whole will miss Tost, Ricciardo said: “I’d say tremendously. I think for the team, he’s been everything, obviously starting off in the Toro Rosso days, or my first full season in F1.
“I remember quite vividly the first meeting I had in his office and I kind of bounced in with a smile. I think he looked at me like… He tried to prepare me for what’s ahead. It’s a serious sport and it’s a tough old world.
“I think he was very honest with me as well, but it made me… A little bit the same as with [Red Bull advisor] Helmut [Marko], it kind of made me mature a little quicker and ultimately grow up.”
Ricciardo continued: “I think Franz has always been really involved. He’s in every debrief, he’ll normally speak as well in debriefs and give some analysis or advice or anything he’s seen. He’s fully involved in it and it's his passion.
“It’s been everything that’s kind of given him drive for so many years. I hope he can enjoy putting his feet up a little bit next year. I’m not sure fully what that’s going to entail for him, but I really hope he’s able to enjoy some R&R.”
Gasly took his sole F1 win to date with AlphaTauri during a dramatic 2020 Italian Grand Prix and gave an insight into just what made Tost such a special team boss to work for.
“He’s played a huge part in my career,” said Gasly. “I ended up spending five years being his driver so we built a very strong bond. He’s quite a unique character, he’s got his own personality, but his love and passion for F1 and motorsport is pretty much unmatched.
“He’s been definitely very valuable in my career just in the support that he brought. He brought me the self-reflection in being quite objective and always trying to dig inside his driver and try and get more, extract more out of them. I’ve always had a very good personal connection [with him].
“I did wish him already all the best for his future. I know what he’s going to be up to, he’s always been talking about skiing and going in the mountains. He’s seen race tracks for his entire career and I think it’s a great opportunity for him to enjoy his off-track life.”
Tost’s place at AlphaTauri has been filled by former Ferrari Racing Director Laurent Mekies, while former FIA F1 Executive Director Peter Bayer has stepped in as CEO.