Franz Tost, AlphaTauri Team Principal, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022

F1 drivers should go home if their cars are “too stiff or too difficult for them” – Tost

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost says Formula 1 drivers need to train more to cope with the harsher ride in this year’s cars or go home and watch races on television.

Tost said past drivers had tolerated similarly uncomfortable cars when ground effects were previously used in Formula 1.

“Now the drivers complain about it,” he said. “On one hand, I can understand it’s not so easy for them. On the other hand, this is a Formula 1 car.

“I remember back when the ‘wing cars’ were out there, there was a driver coming to me on Sunday evening and says ‘tomorrow I have to go to the dentist because I lose my fillings in the bend because the cars are so hard to drive’. It’s nothing new.”

He said drivers will have to train harder to cope with the bouncing, and believes the technical directive issued by the FIA this week will help address the problem.

“First of all, the drivers must do more training for the neck muscles and for the gluteus maximus, then this helps for sure,” said Tost. “And the FIA is coming now with this technical directive which, of course, will help to find out how big are the forces, and then when they create this metric, maybe we can find a way to reduce the bouncing and the forces which are coming to the drivers.

“How much this can be controlled, I don’t know yet. But at Scuderia AlphaTauri we support the FIA, we will give them the data and then we will see what could be the result.”

However, he believes drivers will also have to learn to tolerate the more severe bumping created by the current generation of cars.

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“These are Formula 1 cars,” said Tost. “This is not a Rolls-Royce, and drivers should be aware about this.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Canadian Grand Prix practice in pictures
“If the cars are too stiff or it’s too difficult for them, maybe they should stay at home in the living room, sitting in the chair, and then they can do the races in TV or where, I don’t know.”

The porpoising and bottoming drivers have suffered since the start of the year has arisen as an issue due to the new technical regulations which were introduced for this season. Tost said this outcome was anticipated.

“When this new regulation was created it was clear from the very beginning onwards that these cars will not be easy to drive,” he said.

“Why? Because this floor with kind of a venturi [principle] makes it necessary that the car’s set up quite stiff, that the cars are quite close to the surface and that the front and the rear ride height is quite low. At least you gain a lot of performance if the car is set up as low as possible and as hard as possible.

“In addition to this you have the 18-inch tyres, therefore, it is clear that there is less dampening coming from the tyres and the cars are not any more so comfortable to drive as it was in the past.”

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Keith Collantine
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20 comments on “F1 drivers should go home if their cars are “too stiff or too difficult for them” – Tost”

  1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    18th June 2022, 17:05

    Can’t stand the heat? Get out of the kitchen. Tost is hard, but right.

    Of course the team has the responsibility to keep it within limits, but other than that, the driver needs to deal with it. They get millions per year, surely you can expect them to work hard for it. Physically that is. If you get actually hurt, raise the car. Can’t raise the car? Don’t come to the track. Wolff needs to take a lesson from Tost and get rid of that snake oil on his skin…

    1. 10-4. Recall when MX bikes were BSAs? Desert bikes were Triumphs (“The Great Escape”). “Ow-eeeie!”

  2. Possibly back in the 60s or 70s he’d have said drivers should be grateful to be killed or injured doing what they enjoy.

    1. Yes, a dinosaur.

  3. Harsh but fair

  4. Tost is coming across as rather foolish.

    1. @paulguitar

      I agree, last time I checked good qualified F1 drivers are not so easy to come by and by his attitude I can see why there’s been so many drivers that have passed through his garage like it was a gizzard without succeeding. His turn through rate is not so great.

  5. Showing his Old Timer’s disease….

  6. Pretty stupid thing to say. Simple solution for the problem? Shrink the wheel diameter by 1 inch, increase the tire’s aspect ratio accordingly, get more rubber to absorb the third-world quality roads. I tried 60s instead of 65s for my Winter tires last year, and I was surprised by the increased stiffness. You might get more sidewall flex and reduced grip, but weren’t the old tires much taller than these new ones? I’m sure Pirelli knows how to compensate. Another, more complicated, solution would be to lighten these land yachts. They are much too large. Would also help alleviate the “we can’t pass” complaints. The cars and their power source would become less expensive and would help keep costs in check.

  7. Same chap said team personnel who can’t handle 23 races should find something else to do so this is rather unsurprising. He did backtrack on those comments after a couple of months – maybe a few of his people took his advice.

  8. Wow quite the dichotomy of opinions on this that’s for sure. As I’ve said before, the pro-we-need-help side probably wishes RBR and Alfa Romeo weren’t so porpoise free as they make the case that this can be solved within the current regs and caps.

  9. That’s easy to say from the point of view of somebody who doesn’t have to cope with this heavy bouncing himself.
    At the end of the day it’s the drivers who have to go through this, not the engineers or other team members. That’s why the drivers get paid more.
    I wonder what Franz Tost might say if one of his drivers starts missing races, because of the side effects of the car’s bouncing.

  10. It’s like Tost hasn’t realised safety is a much bigger deal now than when the first generation of ground effect cars were introduced – decades earlier. Go a bit further back in time still, and drivers being killed was routine.

    No one wants the cars to be too easy to drive, but not at the cost of spinal or brain injuries. Whilst we can argue about who is responsible for preventing that (the teams themselves or the regulator), we shouldn’t argue about the impact the current cars are having.

    1. And even then, safety, including drivers not being able to cope with the forces on them was a big part of why ground effect cars were banned in the first place at the time, wasn’t it @simon999.

      Nowadays that is even more important, as you mention.

  11. See what happens when dinosaurs walk the earth.

  12. … maybe they should … I don’t know.

    This is exactly why the FIA needs to apply mandatory maximum shock impact limits a team can inflict upon a driver before the team gets penalised. Mr Tost doesn’t seem to know what the remedy is, so he is happy to let the drivers endanger their health. My experience in the past with management was they won’t know how to fix the problem … until you start demanding money. I have seen it before, where a problem persisted for many years, and despite their claims of anguish, the management didn’t know how to resolve that problem. Then, at the mere thought of having to pay staff extra for enduring that problem, the problem is resolved.
    So my recommendation is the FIA penalise the team if a car is dangerous to drive.

  13. The dinosaur comments don’t address the question. Just malign the man. Today hardliners are unpopular but tost isn’t a dinosaur. He is a team principal.

    He is making the a strong point. So answer that. And perhaps note how strong your opposite opinion is. Does that make you a dinosaur?

    1. Agreed. We hear about Mercedes a lot, so it seems like the issue is a general problem so pervalent that there is no way around it, but it isnt – some teams dont ever talk about it and still seem to get on with the job. Mercedes have a poor concept, but this is not Tost´s problem. From his perspective is it fair to say drivers have to cope, because the concept AlphaTauri has built puts more reasonable demands on their drivers. I dont hear Williams complaining. Haas never talk about it and they are 5th and 6th on 1/3 of the budget. This issue should be entirely up to Mercedes to deal with for the remainder of this season, regardless of the performance sacrifices they may have to make to make it supportable for their drivers. Then, if a consensus exists amongst the teams, universal rule changes could be implemented for next year.

  14. Wow, poor Gasly, shows why he had to make that public statement about pressure to perform vs safety when you have this kind of boss. I can almost imagine him standing over the conversation with the engineer saying “don’t worry, Gasly will take it as stiff as you can make it, isn’t that right Gasly?”

    He’s comparing health and safety standards with his drivers from 40-50 years ago, as if nothing at all has changed since. What a joke.

    For sure the drivers have waived rights to pursue any legal action if their health is impacted to the point of death, so they don’t really have a leg to stand on legally, but damn. This purely negligent disregard for a life that is valued in the tens of millions of dollars a year is absolutely unbelievable.

  15. I do like Franz. He’s honest, respectable and isn’t afraid to just be blunt. A true rarity in modern F1 where everything else is just a facade for the cameras.
    Horner and Wolff (for example) are also just as brutal on their drivers, but are simply too slimy to admit it in public.

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