AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost says that the team’s new car will be an improvement and faster than last year’s challenger, which dramatically claimed victory in the Italian Grand Prix in the hands of Pierre Gasly.
“We think we have a faster car this year but the stopwatch will tell,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport this week.
But whether that quicker pace will translate into another race win in 2021 remains to be seen, with Tost acknowledging that last year’s result in Monza had been down to a unique combination of factors.
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“Of course we hope to win a race like last year, that’s always the goal,” he acknowledged. “But we know that under normal conditions we cannot win.
“At Monza in 2020 we had a fast car and Gasly who drove great without making mistakes, but we were lucky with the [stop-go] penalty for [Lewis] Hamilton.”
That famous victory led to speculation that Gasly might be promoted back to the Red Bull line-up, where he spent the first half of the 2019 season before being swapped out in exchange for Alex Albon.
Albon has now lost the seat. his place taken by Sergio Perez with Gasly seemingly never in the running. But Tost says that’s actually a good thing, and that the Faenza environment is a better fit for Gasly right now.
“I think Gasly is happy to have stayed at AlphaTauri,” he said. “He loves the team and we love him.
“If he races in 2021 like he did in 2020 then he will definitely have the chance to race for Red Bull or another competitive team afterwards. He has everything in him to become a successful driver.”
This year Gasly will have a new partner on the grid with rookie driver Yuki Tsunoda replacing Daniil Kvyat in the second car.
The future of both AlphaTauri and Red Bull in F1 had been in doubt after the announcement of engine providers Honda to quit the sport.
But last week saw agreement on an engine development freeze allowing the two teams to continue using legacy power units for the next three seasons.
“Of course it’s important for us that the engine freeze comes now,” Tost said. “It’s important for the future, there were no alternatives for Red Bull.”
As for his own future in the sport, Tost doesn’t see himself moving on any time soon despite having been in charge of the team since its first days as Toro Rosso in 2006.
“I didn’t expect to still be there for so many years,” he admitted. “However after some 15 years I’m still happy to be here.
“I feel good here in Italy. I’m in a nice part here where there are a lot of suppliers to F1 teams. It’s a Motor Vally here, shall we say.”
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