But as F1’s midfield teams squabble over mere one-hundredths of a second, and the discipline’s budget cap is poised to bring teams even closer together in the future, AlphaTauri chief Tost feels teams will no longer be able to get away with leaving any performance on the table by running two inexperienced drivers.
“Nowadays with this [kind of] Formula 1, to have two unexperienced drivers you have a real big challenge and in the constructors’ championship you will immediately be in the back,” Tost warned.
“There is no chance with two rookies to be in the midfield or in the front, because the field is far too competitive, it’s too strong. If you look to the qualifying times, it’s hundredths of a second. I think in Saudi Arabia Pierre [Gasly] was at 0.087s behind [Charles] Leclerc, which is 78 centimetres or whatever, and that was two positions.
“And if you have a young driver, an unexperienced one, you’re talking about tenths [they’ll be behind], not about thousands.”
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
In 2021 AlphaTauri broke with tradition by having an experienced lead driver the team could rally around in Gasly, who enjoyed his strongest F1 season to date, to partner Honda’s rookie protege Yuki Tsunoda.
While Tost said AlphaTauri will always be ready to accept young talents in its role as Red Bull’s development team, he prefers to keep partnering rookies to an experienced lead driver.
“No, I think that the combination with one experienced driver [and a rookie is better],” Tost added.
“Then of course if there’s a very high skilled young driver Scuderia AlphaTauri is always in a position and ready to educate a young driver.”
After finishing sixth in the 2021 constructors’ championship, largely carried by Gasly, AlphaTauri opted to keep both the Frenchman and Tsunoda on board for 2022.
Talking earlier about the decision to hand Tsunoda a second season at the team despite a troubled rookie year, Tost said the Japanese’s campaign was a “fantastic example” of a rookie season and he now has his future “in his own hands”.