Franz Tost downplays Helmut Marko’s claim that Nyck de Vries will lead team

Nyck de Vries frowning at the Italian GP. Monza September 2022. Credit: Alamy
Nyck de Vries frowning at the Italian GP. Monza September 2022. Credit: Alamy

Franz Tost has downplayed Helmut Marko’s claims Nyck de Vries will be AlphaTauri’s team leader, saying the most important thing is that they have a “competitive car”.

After that, the rest will sort itself out.

Yuki Tsunoda will have a new team-mate next season, Pierre Gasly on his way to Alpine with 2022 Italian Grand Prix star De Vries replacing him.

But while De Vries has contested just one grand prix, Monza with Williams where he was P9, he has experience and success in other series having won the 2019 Formula 2 title and the 2020/21 Formula E championship.

His past achievements have Red Bull advisor Marko saying De Vries will be the Faenza-based team’s leader.

“Absolutely,” he said when asked the question. “Yuki is still young and doesn’t have that experience technically, so Nyck can lead the team.

“We will see how it goes in practice next year, but judging by his experience and personality Nyck should be the team leader.”

AlphaTauri team boss Tost isn’t so sure.

“This we’ll see,” said the 66-year-old. “Yuki has more Formula 1 experience. Nyck is a little bit older, has more race experience. He won many races and championships.

“I think the most important part is that we provide the drivers with a competitive car. And then it’s easy for both of them to set up the car and to perform well.

“Who from these two drivers will be the faster? This we will see. I don’t know yet.

“I’m looking forward, because both of the drivers have a lot of potential. Both of the drivers are fast. And I think that we should have a successful season.”

Although De Vries will be with AlphaTauri next season, Mercedes still ran him in the FP1 session at the Mexican Grand Prix, the second and last of the team’s two obligatory young driver outings.

But already he’s preparing for life with AlphaTauri, visiting the team’s factory for a seat fitting in preparation for his run in the post-season Abu Dhabi test.

“I had a lot of contact with him,” said Tost. “He was in Faenza, they made the seat.

“We always have some chats together. It’s very interesting, very important to know each other.

“I want to integrate him into the team as fast as possible. And he will do for us the young driver test in Abu Dhabi, where he can become more familiar with the car, with the team. And then we will see.

“We have a good programme for him during the winter months to prepare him in the best possible way for 2023.”

Read more: F1 2023 driver line-up: Who is confirmed for next season’s grid?

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