Formula 1 team boss evaluates Schumi, Vettel, Verstappen and Co.

AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost (66/Austria) was once a racing driver himself. After studying sports management, he changed sides, worked for Walter Lechner and Willi Weber, among others, was logistics manager at BMW Motorsport and became team boss at Toro Rosso in 2006.

In his different roles, many drivers went through Tost’s tough school. In an interview with he rates his fastest graduates.

Michael sSchumacher

Michael sSchumacher

“I first really noticed him at a Formula Ford race in the rain at the Salzburgring. He lapped the entire field. At the time, I was standing by the track with Willi Weber to watch him. It was about whether we should sign him for Willis F3 team for next year. I said to Willi: You don’t have to worry about Michael. He’s worlds faster than everyone else. The second time I saw him was at a Formula Ford EM round in Zolder. Then he ran into Mika Salo’s ears. That was also a great performance by Michael. We met and talked several times after that. He was 100% professional and incredibly goal-oriented. That’s why it was completely normal for me that he was later able to achieve these successes. You could foresee that in every respect right from the start.”

Ralph Schumacher

“Ralf was sensationally fast, incredibly talented. He learned very quickly and implemented everything very quickly. The highlight at the beginning of his career was winning the Japanese Formula Nippon. It was an extremely high quality championship and almost impossible for a European to win. I went to Japan with Ralf, but he didn’t enjoy the stay there that much. Because his contract was actually for two years, I said to him: “If you win the championship in the first year, then you can shorten your time in Japan.” So he did. Add to that the hard-fought GT championship. I can still remember his prophecy at Silverstone when he was testing the McLaren-Mercedes. It was fitted with Goodyear tires. Ralf was already doing tests with Bridgestone in Japan back then. So he leaned out the window and said: “If Goodyear doesn’t come up with something, they’re going to have problems against Bridgestone.” So what it too. That showed how extremely sensitive Ralf was early on as a test driver. Regarding his Formula 1 time: He had high-quality, extremely fast teammates like Juan-Pablo Montoya or Jenson Button. And he controlled her. His problem: he was never in the right place at the right time – otherwise he would have won titles like his brother. What ultimately cost him his speed were two extremely serious accidents. Once when testing in Monza and the crash in Indianapolis. You couldn’t just put that away.”

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya

“Like Ralf, Juan was extremely talented, extremely fast. But what Montoya, like everyone else, lacked compared to Michael: this total focus on Formula 1. For Michael, there was only Formula 1, nothing else. Even Ralf was easily distracted in this regard. In terms of sheer talent, Montoya could easily have won a title. But talent alone is not enough to win titles in Formula 1. You have to have the necessary discipline to use your talent properly.”

Nick Heidfeld

“Nick was good, but not in the league like Ralf or Montoya in terms of talent and natural speed. Because you mustn’t forget that he was able to cover thousands of test kilometers in the McLaren-Mercedes in preparation for Formula 1.”

Sebastian Vettel

“Sebastian came to Toro Rosso because we needed a replacement for Sébastian Bourdais. Before that, however, there was a lot of discussion about him. Not everyone was convinced of him. I really wanted him, he was a super talent for me and at first I had a similar impression of him as of Michael Schumacher. Thank God Dietrich Mateschitz decided in favor of him. You have to know that Sebastian, who was previously a test pilot at BMW, slipped into the political games there. BMW like Mario Theissen wanted to keep him, others, Sauber people, didn’t. That rubbed off on our discussions. Despite some loss of front spoilers, which a young driver must be allowed to do, he was quick to speed and raced from strength to strength – culminating in winning at Monza in 2008 after claiming pole the day before. Then you finally saw the great potential in Sebastian. One of his great strengths: as soon as he discovered a certain technology in the car, he worked meticulously to turn it to his advantage.

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo

“A fast driver with very good vehicle control, disciplined, focused and very technically adept. He was then in the team with Jean-Eric Vergne, who was also fast. But Ricciardo took the whole thing a little more seriously and dealt with the matter even more. Even then, he gave extremely good technical feedback for his young age – that helped the whole team a lot, especially when it came to vehicle set-up.”

Max Verstappen

“I first met Max with his father at the Nürburgring. At that time he was still karting. The next time was at the Norisring in Formula 3. In the rain he drove in a league of his own, as if he was the only one who had discovered a dry line. He immediately reminded me of Michael Schumacher. You could see what mega talent Max was. We had to take criticism when we entrusted the Toro Rosso to him at the age of 17. So someone who didn’t even have a driver’s license. He also completed his first training session in Suzuka, one of the most difficult tracks of all. But Max handled everything confidently. He never had any problems with the high speed of a Formula 1 car and always had everything under control from the start. In his first races he was sometimes a little too aggressive. This sometimes led to a crash, for example in Monaco with Romain Grosjean. Today he rides at an extremely high level. Still, we haven’t seen the maximum from him yet. Only Charles Leclerc can come close to keeping up. The ravages of time have already gnawed at Lewis Hamilton.”

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz Jr.

“Carlos is talented and extremely hardworking. He performs very well at Ferrari and can drive at eye level with Leclerc if everything goes right. But in terms of basic speed, Leclerc is two tenths faster.”

Pierre Gasly

“Pierre is also very talented. He thinks everything through carefully and is very focused. With the right car, he can be at the forefront. That is our job now.”

Yuki Tsunoda

“Yuki has a crazy basic speed. But he needs to clear his mind. He has to drive more carefully, not so emotionally. If he can make that leap to the next mental level, he can become a great pilot. But it’s up to him now.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button