AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost sidestepped questions about his team’s 2023 Formula 1 driver line-up, amid speculation Colton Herta could replace Pierre Gasly, saying that Red Bull hired drivers, he educates them.
“I don’t care which driver Red Bull gives me,” the Austrian told reporters during the Dutch Grand Prix weekend at Zandvoort. “It’s my job to educate them. That’s it, basta. Whoever it is.”
AlphaTauri is a sister team to and owned by Red Bull Racing and has historically prepared young drivers – including current F1 World Champion Max Verstappen – for promotion to the title contenders with Tost in charge of the ‘kindergarten’ so to speak.
Gasly has a contract for 2023 but is a frontrunner to fill the seat at Renault-owned Alpine left vacant by double world champion Fernando Alonso, who is moving to Aston Martin next season.
Helmut Marko, who represents Red Bull’s motorsport interests, told Germany’s Sky television that the energy drink company will not stand in Gasly’s way providing “our conditions are met”.
Multiple IndyCar race winner Herta has been increasingly mentioned as a possible replacement
If Gasly does go to Alpine, although the 22-year-old American would require a special dispensation since he does not have the necessary 40 points for a super-licence.
There has not been a U.S. driver in F1 since Alexander Rossi in 2015 and the sport, with three U.S. rounds next year and a fast-growing American audience, is keen to have one.
Tost said he did not know Herta, who tested a 2021 car with McLaren in July and races in IndyCar for Andretti Autosport, and had not seen him race.
Asked whether it would excite him to bring in a driver from IndyCar, Tost replied: “If he has a good relationship to the right pedal, yes.”
Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda is the team’s other current driver alongside Gasly but has yet to be confirmed for 2023, although he looks likely to stay given Honda’s continuing involvement on the engine side.
Tost said Tsunoda could be a leader for the team, if he had a good enough car. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)