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Ricciardo pays tribute to F1 veteran ahead of farewell

Ricciardo pays tribute to F1 veteran ahead of farewell

Ricciardo pays tribute to F1 veteran ahead of farewell

Ricciardo pays tribute to F1 veteran ahead of farewell

Daniel Ricciardo has paid a heartwarming tribute to his AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost ahead of his final race weekend in the sport.

Tost, who is one of the longest-serving F1 team principals of all time, announced he would be stepping down from the role at the end of the year in April and will be replaced by the current Ferrari assistant team principal Laurent Mekies for 2024.

Ricciardo reflected on his time working with the Austrian in the press conference ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the impact he has had on his career.

READ MORE: F1 veteran to retire and take up new role in 2024

When asked how much of a miss the 67-year-old will be for the sport, he said: “I’ll say tremendously. I think for the team he’s been everything. Starting off in the Toro Rosso days, that’s where I started, well my first full season in F1.

Daniel Ricciardo made his full season debut with Toro Rosso in 2012 under Franz Tost's guidance
Franz Tost has spent 18 years with the Faenza team

“I remember quite vividly the first meeting I had in his office. I kind of bounced in with a smile and I think he looked at me, tried to prepare me for what’s ahead! It’s a serious sport and it’s a tough old world.

“I think he was very honest with me as well,” he added. “But it made me, a little bit the same as with Helmut, it made me mature a little quicker and ultimately grow up.

“I think Franz has always been really involved. He’s in every debrief, he’ll normally speak as well in the debriefs and give some analysis or advice or anything he’s seen. He’s fully involved in it and it’s his passion. It’s been everything that’s given him drive for so many years.

“I hope he can enjoy putting his feet up a little bit next year. I’m not sure fully what that’s going to entail for him! But I really hope he’s able to enjoy some R&R.

“A lot of good memories and actually really nice for me personally to come back to the team and be here for that, I guess his farewell.”

Tost: 23 years in F1

Tost began his career in F1 in 2000 when he joined Williams alongside Ralf Schumacher, whom he had met whilst he ran his F3 team WTS in 1993. He worked with Williams’ engine supplier BMW as Track Operations Manager.

In 2006, he was appointed as the team principal of Toro Rosso after Red Bull had bought Minardi and would spend 18 years with the team, which served as a launching pad for Red Bull’s young talent, such as Ricciardo, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel – who achieved his and the team’s first ever win in F1 at Monza in 2008 – and the reigning three-time champion Max Verstappen.

Tost has overseen the team's two victories in F1

Tost remained as team principal after the team’s rebranding to AlphaTauri and oversaw their second and, to date last victory in the sport with Pierre Gasly in 2020, again coming at Monza.

He achieved a best finish of sixth in the constructors’ championship in 2008, 2019 and 2021.

The team is sat eighth in the standings heading into this weekend’s race, sitting just seven points behind Williams in seventh, five points ahead of Alfa Romeo and nine ahead of Haas.

READ MORE: F1 team announces departure with leaving message

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