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Proud Tost with fine words for Verstappen: 'Max can read the race'

Proud Tost with fine words for Verstappen: 'Max can read the race'

22-11-2023 19:00

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Not only the closing race of the current Formula 1 season, but it will also be AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost's last dance. The Austrian, now aged 67, told the Beyond The Grid podcast about scouting now three-time world champion Max Verstappen.

When Tost was asked about drivers who impressed him most during his Formula 1 period, two names quickly came to mind. Besides Sebastian Vettel, who became a four-time world champion, the very young Verstappen also quickly caught the Austrian's positive eye. He told an interesting anecdote.

"Max [stood out], because of his unbelievable speed," Tost opined. "When we brought him to Formula One, I remember some of your colleagues [journalists] came to me and said, ‘you are totally crazy. How can you take someone who doesn't have a driver's license?’ And I said, ‘sorry, I don't want to discuss this with you now,."

Tost already knew Verstappen

In hindsight, the man who has been team boss for 18 years was right. He explained critical questions from journalists about the current Red Bull driver's age, Tost wasn't really talking. Tost felt that the age of the driver in question did not matter at all. "No. It was clear. But he was 17," he said.

"It doesn't matter. This is just a figure on the birth calendar or whatever," the AlphaTauri team boss explained in the podcast. "He was racing for 10 years or 11 years already and that's decisive because nowadays, the young drivers start karting at six, seven years. And then, and that's the next important factor for Max, he had Jos, his father, on his side," Tost said.

AlphaTauri team boss on Spainish GP 2016

In 2016, the Dutchman suddenly ran away with victory at the Barcelona circuit. Hamilton and Rosberg nodded each other off the track and ended up in the gravel trap, giving Verstappen the lead for good in his Red Bull. He managed to keep Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel behind him, ensuring Jos Verstappen's son would stand on the top step of the podium.

"He can think, and do other things," Tost said. "He can read the race. He knows what the opponents are doing. He knew where Räikkönen could become dangerous for him. And he drove exactly the way to defend and to win this race. Of course, I was surprised. It's a fantastic success, we all were happy with him."