Scuderia Alpha Tauri Team Principal Franz Tost celebrated his final race in Formula One with Yuki Tsunoda scoring points in Abu Dhabi with an eighth-place finish. The result meant that the team just missed out on seventh in the championship by three points from Williams.
We started with Yuki in the sixth position and with Daniel in P15. Both of them had a good start and didn’t lose any positions on the first lap. We split our cars on the strategy side, opting for a one-stop with Yuki and a two-stop for Daniel. In the end, it was the wrong decision, because I think with a two-stop strategy we could’ve finished P6 or at least P7 with Yuki, as he was faster than other competitors that overtook him in the final laps. Therefore, we ended the season in P8 in the Constructors’ Championship and of course, it’s disappointing because our target was to finish P7. There are still some positives to take on the aerodynamic side, as the new floor worked quite well, which is a good indication for next year’s car.
“As this was my last race, I want to take the opportunity to thank all the Formula 1 fans for their support, the FIA, FOM, all the Formula 1 teams, Honda, Pirelli, and everyone with whom we had good cooperation with over the last 18 years, and obviously my team and all the drivers I was lucky enough to work with. I wish them all a successful future.
Yuki Tsunoda scored his best ever qualifying in sixth place and speaking following the race he said:
Thanks to everyone for voting me Driver of the Day. It was a tough race. At one point, I thought we could finish in the top six. It didn’t work, but we don’t regret staying out and trying the one-stop strategy. I gave it my all, and I’m happy with myself. It was an enjoyable season overall. We struggled with car performance at the start, but we were able to step it up throughout the season. Although we didn’t achieve P7 in the Constructors’ Championship, we improved from P10 to P8 in the final part of the season, all thanks to the team in Bicester and Faenza. At the same time, there were a couple of mistakes I made that cost us, especially in Mexico. Well done to Williams. They deserve it, and I enjoyed the battle we had. Thank you to Franz. I enjoyed the last three years, and I will definitely miss him. Without his advice on how to improve, I wouldn’t have been able to progress as much in my Formula 1 career. I appreciate him, and I know we’ll keep in touch.
Daniel Ricciardo came home just outside the top ten in 11th place. Speaking following the race the Australian said:
“It wasn’t a bad race. We had a decent pace, but as soon as you get into a little dirty air, it’s hard. Just like today, there have been a couple of races where, if we had one more lap, I feel like we could’ve gotten a few more points, but starting further back put us on the back foot slightly. It’s good that Yuki got some points, but we needed a little more, so it would’ve been nice if I could’ve scored some too. Part of me is happy to go on a break to prepare for a full season, but I would also like to continue racing. It’s exciting having a proper off-season and knowing I want to be here. I was happy with the races I’ve done.
“Shoutout to Franz. He’s been a big part of the team and obviously, very early in my career he played a big role. It was nice to be able to spend his last races together. I wish him well, and I know he’ll be missed by the whole team. Even today, everyone is celebrating him, and all he wanted to do was go racing, so it shows the person he is. I hope he enjoys his time away from the track as much as he enjoyed it racing week after week, with the same amazing passion.”
Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer) commented saying:
“Heading into the race, the objective was to outscore Williams by 8 points for P7 in the Constructors’. To do this, we needed to finish P6 or higher in the race with one car or P7 and P9 with the two cars. It was a big ask given the starting position of Yuki, because he had three fast cars starting behind him. We knew it would be challenging to achieve the result on pace alone, so we tried to make it work with strategy. Tyres were looking good in the first stint, so we went for the one-stop with Yuki. After a suspected tear-off in the brake duct, we converted Daniel to what was an aggressive two-stop. Both drivers did a fantastic job throughout the race, but in the end, we didn’t quite have enough pace to score the required points. Whatever strategy we could’ve chosen wouldn’t have been enough to overtake Williams. I know everyone is relieved it’s the end of the season, but for our team, it’s fair to say we would’ve loved one more race! It’s been a long season, and in the first races, we were one of the slowest cars on the grid. The credit is due to everyone in Bicester and Faenza for never giving up, pushing hard with the development and turning our competitiveness around, so we end the season with the fifth to sixth quickest car. With Yuki in P1 for a few laps, today marked only the second time in history that a Japanese driver has led a Formula 1 race and only the sixth time Franz has seen one of his cars lead a Grand Prix, which is a nice way to say goodbye. It was Franz’s last race leading our team, and speaking on behalf of everyone, it has been an absolute pleasure to work for him. I’ve never met someone with such a love of the race track and as passionate about racing as Franz, and he will be sorely missed. We wish him all the best for the future.”