Mr. Tost, the Formula 1 season starts in Melbourne this weekend. This is your first time with the new Alpha Tauri logo. What does the name change mean for the team?
Franz Tost (64): The name change is very important for us. For the team it is a huge step forward. Because we are now a brand ambassador. This is an uncanny upgrade for the team. Media attention for Scuderia Alpha Tauri will increase. When we were called Toro Rosso, many did not know the link to Red Bull. Toro Rosso was simply a name that many people liked that was easy to remember. But we weren’t the brand ambassadors we had hoped for. With Alpha Tauri, it’s completely different. This is a fresh start for the whole team.
Will the collaboration with Red Bull be deepened again within the regulations?
We get fewer parts from Red Bull Technology than last year because we have to make part of the brakes ourselves. They have been put on the list of parts that have to be built by the teams themselves. Last year we got Red Bull’s rear and front brake channels. What we get from Red Bull Technology are the transmission, the hydraulics, the complete rear axle, and the front axle apart among others.
But this is a step backward in the regulations because you really want to save money?
Yes, it’s a huge step backward. The small teams now have to draw the brake channels themselves, build the molds and parts. This is now a cost factor that shouldn’t be underestimated.
At Toro Rosso, you worked with both Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, who‘s better?
If you look at the numbers on paper, you have to say that Sebastian is the more successful one because he has won four world titles and many victories. Even with us. But you have to say that Max also has the potential to win world championships.
What are the differences and similarities between the two?
Both are very, very talented. Both are 100% passionate. They both live Formula 1. There is nothing else for them. They both have the necessary discipline to succeed. If you told Sebastian Vettel to do this or that, he did it right away. The same applies to Max Verstappen. And they have the appropriate cleverness to be so innovative that they can beat the others – regardless of whether this is on a technical or political basis. You have the foundation and killer instinct to be champions.
And what are the differences between the two?
The age (laughs).
You often talk of killer instinct? How does it look like?
First, you have to say: The pure difference in speed for the individual drivers is between breaking point, turning point and apex when estimating the possible speeds in relation to the grip level. The normal driver comes there and thinks: Oh, that’s going too fast for me. The talented driver drives through because he has the feeling and the overview that the asphalt and the tire can give him this grip level, so that he drives the two or three-tenths of a second faster. Michael Schumacher was the same, Lewis Hamilton is the same. Drivers who have this killer instinct always drive under pressure. Means: You shorten the distance to the competition in front as long as it takes. Then they pressure them to commit mistakes, overtake them or just shoot them off the tracks…