Franz Tost has defended Red Bull-owned Alpha Tauri’s “aggressive” decision to announce Laurent Mekies’ impending departure from Ferrari.
Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur said Alpha Tauri releasing a statement about Mekies replacing long-time team principal Tost sometime next year was “aggressive” because the terms of his release have yet to be finalised.
“They were a bit aggressive with the press release,” Vasseur said at Baku. “Especially considering the long contract period.”
67-year-old Austrian Tost, who will depart his post at the end of the season, admits the announcement was somewhat hasty.
“To be honest, we didn’t plan the announcement for this week either,” he told De Telegraaf newspaper. “But it was already seeping out through the media and I didn’t want to sit here all weekend saying I didn’t know or didn’t want to comment.
“So we thought ‘Let’s throw out the press release’. I can understand that some people are not happy about that,” Tost added.
The poaching of Ferrari’s sporting director comes after a difficult start to the season for Alpha Tauri, amid wild rumours about the future and clear performance problems.
In Friday qualifying, team newcomer and 28-year-old rookie Nyck de Vries crashed and will start the Azerbaijan GP last, while Yuki Tsunoda retired from the sprint following a separate clash with de Vries.
“Nyck is in a learning process and, as I always say, in a crash period,” Tost said.
“If drivers don’t crash, they don’t know what the limit is. There is no driver who has never crashed.
I remember during his first races for us, Sebastian Vettel also came back to the pitlane more often without than with the nose of his car after the first clash. It’s part of it.