AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost received criticism from fellow bosses after he publicly chastised his engineers during an FIA press conference at the Saudi Arabian GP. Tost, known for his no-nonsense approach, expressed his disappointment in the team’s early season performance, saying that he no longer trusted his engineers who had told him that the AT04 was fantastic during the winter months. Tost wanted to see lap times as proof that the car was competitive and expressed his frustration at their poor showing in Bahrain.
In a recent media briefing in Miami, Tost was asked if he still held the same views about his engineers, to which he answered that he had gained trust in his team again after the departure of a particular engineer that he did not name. The team declined to provide additional details about the departure.
Although Tost did not mention the name of the engineer who left, reports suggest that AlphaTauri‘s head of aerodynamics, Dickon Balmforth, left the team camp after the start of the season. Balmforth was an integral part of the team, having been with them since May 2018 and was based at the team’s UK wind tunnel facility in Bicester.
Balmforth spent over twelve years working for Adrian Newey‘s aerodynamic team in Milton Keynes before joining the sister outfit, then known as Toro Rosso, in 2018. He was a principal aerodynamicist in 2014 and helped the team to secure podium finishes, including Pierre Gasly‘s memorable Italian GP win in 2020.
Tost’s comments caused a stir in the F1 community, with several people criticising him for not supporting his team and airing their dirty laundry in public. The team boss defended his position by stating that he only wanted what was best for the team and was willing to shake things up to achieve success.