AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost has opened up on the “emotional decision” behind the side replacing Nyck de Vries with Daniel Ricciardo for the remainder of the 2023 season.

It was confirmed early last week that de Vries’ Formula 1 venture would be ending after only 10 races to make way for the return of Ricciardo to the grid.

The Dutchman had struggled massively in his debut campaign and was one of only two drivers – along with fellow rookie Logan Sargeant – yet to score a point this year.

However, Tost has sympathised with de Vries, citing that the early part of the season is complicated for a new driver amid visits to a multitude of circuits they’ve not encountered in the junior ranks.

“This was also a very emotional decision because we have a really good relationship with Nyck – I just spoke with him on the telephone last week,” Tost said on Friday in Hungary.

“He didn’t have an easy time with us. First of all, as a rookie, the first half of the season is not so easy because they are racing at many racetracks which they don’t know, like Melbourne, Miami, Saudi Arabia. Then they come to Baku where it’s a sprint race, which means it’s only FP1 then it’s already qualifying.”

Tost claims that de Vries was underprepared to deal with the demands of the step up to F1 and believes he required an extensive testing regime like Oscar Piastri to immediately be on the pace.

“Nowadays if a young driver comes to Formula 1, he really has to be prepared in the best possible way, which means for me at least five to six thousand kilometers of private testing with an old car, like Alpine did with Piastri – this is the way to go.”

Nyck de Vries (NLD) AlphaTauri AT04. 05.05.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Miami Grand Prix, Miami, Florida, USA, Practice Day.

AlphaTauri has lacked competitiveness throughout the current campaign and presently sits rooted to the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship with only two points to its name.

Although Tost accepts that the lacklustre performance of the team’s AT04 car contributed to de Vries’ troubles, the Austrian chief asserts the ex-Formula 2 champion failed to show significant improvement at circuits he had previous experience at.

“Coming back to Nyck it was difficult for him, also. Our car was not so competitive, and if a car is not so good, it’s even more complicated,” he acknowledged.

“I expected a much better performance in Austria and in Silverstone, because both of these tracks Nyck knew quite well. But the performance didn’t come up and we decided to change him – also thinking to the second half of the season, where he doesn’t know Singapore, Japan, Mexico, Austin and Qatar, which would not have made it quite easy.”

Tost, who will stand down from his role at the end of the year, is hopeful the experience of Ricciardo and more upgrades this weekend can propel AlphaTauri up the order.

“The hopes are that at least one car is in Q3, and the hopes are that these upgrades work as expected, as the aero group calculated in the wind tunnel and CFD. But you know, decisive is always the lap time and I hope we made a step forward with these upgrades.”

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