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Franz Tost: Alpha Tauri team principal to be replaced by Ferrari’s Laurent Mekies

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Franz Tost of Austria and Scuderia Alpha Tauri (L) and Dr. Helmut Marko of Austria and Oracle Red Bull Racing
Franz Tost (left, with Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko) has been with Red Bull’s sister team for 18 years

Franz Tost will be replaced at the end of this season as team principal of Red Bull’s Alpha Tauri team by Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies.

Peter Bayer, previously F1 executive director and secretary general for motorsport at governing body the FIA, will become the team’s chief executive.

Alpha Tauri said the changes were “aimed at securing long-term stability and ensuring continuity”.

Tost, 67, will remain as a consultant until the end of the 2024 season.

Despite giving a date for the Austrian’s departure, Alpha Tauri did not specify the dates that either Mekies or Bayer would start in their new roles.

Tost is F1’s second longest-serving team principal after Red Bull’s Christian Horner and has been in charge of the team since the old Minardi outfit was bought by Red Bull and named Toro Rosso.

The team was set up with the idea of being a proving ground for potential future Red Bull drivers, and have won two races – the 2008 and 2020 Italian Grands Prix with Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly.

Other drivers to progress from the team to a full Red Bull seat include two-time world champion Max Verstappen and eight-time winner Daniel Ricciardo.

Tost, a former racing driver, said it was time for him to hand over his day-to-day role at the team.

“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,” Tost said.

“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.”

Frenchman Mekies joined Ferrari in 2018 from a role as deputy racing director at the FIA, which he joined from Toro Rosso in 2014.

Austrian Bayer was a long-serving executive at the FIA who lost his role in June 2022, six months after Mohammed Ben Sulayem became the president.

Bayer led the inquiry into the mistakes made at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when race director Michael Masi failed to implement the rules correctly during a late safety car period, leading to the world championship changing hands from Lewis Hamilton to Verstappen.

Bayer said it was a “great privilege” to take on his new role at Alpha Tauri.

The changes at Alpha Tauri have been masterminded by Oliver Mintzlaff, Red Bull’s chief executive of corporate projects and investments, who was given the role of overseeing the soft drink giant’s involvement in major international sport following the death of co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz last October.

Mintzlaff said: “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 F1.

“Replacing him as he steps back has not been easy and has resulted in a redefinition of the management structure at the team. Both Peter Bayer and Laurent Mekies have huge experience in top positions in Formula 1 and together I am sure they will take Scuderia Alpha Tauri to even greater heights in the future.”

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