Franz Tost, AlphaTauri’s Team Principal, delivered a blunt statement on Friday, claiming he does not trust the team’s engineers anymore after false promises over winter.
AlphaTauri are not having a strong start to their 2023 Formula 1 season, with Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries qualifying 14th and 19th for the Bahrain season opener, finishing the race 11th and 14th respectively.
In Saudi Arabia this weekend, the situation doesn’t seem to have improved for the Faenza-based squad, as on Friday Tsunoda was tenth in FP1 dropping to 13th in FP2, while De Vries was 17th in the second practice dropping from 13th in the first.
Asked if this is the best level of performance AlphaTauri can deliver after their pointless outing in Bahrain; Tost said: “Unfortunately, I think it’s currently the performance level of the car, because we expected a much better car.
“We struggled in Bahrain, looks a little bit different here,” he added. “I hope that at least we are with one car in Q3, but we have to do a lot of things to make the car faster. And especially on the aerodynamic side.
Only lap times count
“There are different programmes going on, but the engineers tell me that we make some good progress, but I don’t trust them anymore. I just want to see the lap time because this is the only thing which counts,” he insisted.
Asked if he meant what he said about his engineers; the Austrian responded: “Yes, because during the winter months, they told me the car is fantastic, we’re making big progress, and then we come to Bahrain, and we are nowhere. What should I say?”
Pushed to pinpoint the problems with the car; Tost said: “Too little downforce. Not enough downforce, therefore the car is unstable under braking, overheating the rear tyres, washing-out at the apex, bad traction. Everything what you need to do a good lap time.”
He admitted though that the situation is not worse in Jeddah compared to Bahrain; he point out: “Here in Jeddah the characteristic of the racetrack is completely different. And both drivers were, yeah, not satisfied with the car but said the car feels better than in Bahrain.
“We have still some understeering problems which we have to get rid of, and the rest, and we will see,” the AlphaTauri boss concluded.