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Formula 1 Miami GP

Tost trusts AlphaTauri F1 engineers after key departure

AlphaTauri Formula 1 boss Franz Tost says he now trusts his engineering team following the departure of one key member.

Franz Tost, Team Principal, Scuderia AlphaTauri, in the team principals Press Conference

Tost caused a stir when at an FIA press conference at the Saudi Arabian GP he criticised his engineers.

Fellow team bosses were surprised that the Austrian would chastise his employees in public, even given his plain-speaking reputation.

Asked on that occasion about the team’s early-season form, he made it clear that he’d been led to believe over the winter that the AT04 would be much more competitive than it proved to be at the first race in Bahrain.

“The engineers are telling me that we will make some good progress,” he said. “But I don't trust them anymore. I just want to see the lap time, because this is the only thing which counts.”

He continued: “During the winter months they told me the car is fantastic, we've made a big progress. And then we come to Bahrain and we are nowhere. What should I say?”

In Miami on Friday, Tost was asked if he still abided by his earlier comments, and he revealed that a key departure had changed his views.

“The person I didn't trust anymore is out, as you can imagine,” he said. “And the others I trust, totally easy. And they do a good job.”

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz / Motorsport Images

Tost did not elaborate on which engineer he was referring to, and the team declined to give any further details.

However, it’s understood that AlphaTauri’s head of aerodynamics, Dickon Balmforth, left the Faenza camp after the start of the season.

Balmforth had been at the team since May 2018, based at its UK wind tunnel facility in Bicester.

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He began his F1 career with a three-year spell at Williams from the start of 2003 to the end of 2005, before joining Red Bull.

He spent over 12 years as part of Adrian Newey’s aerodynamic team in Milton Keynes. He rose to the role of principal aerodynamicist in 2014 before moving to the sister outfit, then still known as Toro Rosso, in 2018.

Balmforth’s stint at the team encompassed Pierre Gasly’s memorable Italian GP win in 2020 as well as other podium finishes.

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