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What does the major management shakeup mean for AlphaTauri?

With Franz Tost out after 18 years at the helm, AlphaTauri's first management shakeup represents a key change in direction as the team look to improve their fortunes.

The first major management shakeup at the top of AlphaTauri represents a significant change in direction for the team, as the squad look to improve their fortunes following a tough start to the 'new era' Formula 1 rules in 2022. In 2022 AlphaTauri achieved just ninth in the Constructors' Championship with a total of 35 points to their name, and the outfit have so far only scored one point in the first three races of the 2023 season. Given F1's sliding aero rules enabling AlphaTauri to have 110% allowance in 2023, it was therefore encouraging to hear the positive signs from the team after the winter break as they opted for a 'revolution' rather than 'evolution' of car concepts with the AT03 . In reality the numbers in the aero tunnel have not matched up on track, with both Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda struggling to produce results that match the hype. Tost, meanwhile, took aim at his engineers, claiming that he no longer "trusted" their judgement as they fell into the same performance problems that the Austrian said troubled their 2022 campaign. Amid the rumours of the team's sale during pre-season testing, it's clear that something had to change if they wanted to get out of yet another car homologation cycle finishing at the back.

AlphaTuari look to change fortunes with Mekies and Bayer

Enter Ferrari's Laurent Mekies and former FIA executive Peter Bayer, whose recent experience at the top of Formula 1's teams and governance structures will be a significant benefit as they look to improve their fortunes. As advisor Helmut Marko exclusively told RacingNews365.com in Saudi Arabia, AlphaTauri are currently costing more than Red Bull to run – but he was clear for the need for a second team. The change in leadership at the top of AlphaTauri is a vote of confidence from the Red Bull group that they can challenge at the sharp end of the field, after RacingNews365.com previously reported that they turned down at least $800m for the sale of the team. Bayer joins AlphaTauri as CEO after previously spending five years as FIA Secretary General for Sport, where he was involved with the streamlining the current single-seater structure along with safety and sustainability in FIA championships. He was also a key figure in the development of the 2022 F1 regulations and the upcoming Power Unit regulations set to be introduced in 2026, which should be beneficial in his role to "oversee the strategic direction of the team". Not to mention the fact that Bayer is naturally a fit for the Red Bull brand given his nationality – Austrian. Mekies returns to the team after starting his career in F1 in the days when it was Minardi, then later in Toro Rosso rising to be Chief Engineer across a 10-year stint. He was later FIA Safety Director in 2014 and Deputy Race Director in 2017, before switching to Ferrari in 2018 and rising to the position of Racing Director and Head of Track Area. Mekies has already started off his stint on a positive, believing that they have "all of the ingredients necessary for greater success" in the future. One has to look at how Aston Martin have managed their resources with less aero testing allowance, to understand that the potential is there for AlphaTauri given their backing from Red Bull. With Bayer in charge of the strategy and Mekies overseeing the implementation, it is going to be an important next few years for the team as they justify their backing from one of the biggest brands in F1.

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