The Japanese producer launched a brand new engine for this 12 months forward of its departure from the game on the finish of the season, earlier than Pink Bull takes over its improvement from 2022.
The brand new engine is smaller and extra highly effective, and each Pink Bull and AlphaTauri have taken a step ahead judging by their efficiency in pre-season testing and within the first race in Bahrain.
“I have to say Honda did a incredible job in Sakura, as a result of this new energy unit is rather more highly effective and higher drivable because it was up to now,” mentioned Tost in Bahrain, the place Pierre Gasly certified fifth.
“I believe that Honda is absolutely very, very near Mercedes. And I can solely say thanks to the Japanese engineers, as a result of they did a incredible job.”
Gasly struggled within the race after damaging his entrance wing and ground in an incident with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in the beginning.
The French driver retired his automotive with 4 laps to go, however rookie teammate Yuki Tsunoda completed ninth on his grand prix debut.
Regardless of leaving Bahrain with simply two factors, Tost stays satisfied that AlphaTauri has progressed in all areas, though he concedes the midfield group is extraordinarily tight this 12 months.
“We improved in each side,” he mentioned. “However we should not overlook our rivals as effectively. Should you look to McLaren, they’ve the Mercedes energy unit, they’re very robust.
“For me, presently, Pink Bull, Mercedes are on the identical stage, perhaps Pink Bull is even quicker. Then I see McLaren coming. And we see then what is going on on with Ferrari. However we’re near Ferrari and to the remainder.
“It is a query of hundredths of a second. We improved however the others improved as effectively. The query is now who did a greater job? And this I can reply on the finish of the season.”
He added: “I would like two, three races to get a greater image. However it’s very tight and I believe will probably be the identical recreation as final 12 months.”
Tost sees no purpose why the optimistic development cannot proceed within the second race of 2021 at Imola.
“I anticipate the identical for Imola. We’ll then see what is going on on in Portimao,” Tost mentioned.
“However usually talking the automotive is quick, hopefully additionally dependable, and now we have a powerful bundle collectively.
“The crew is changing into extra skilled now. We happily did not have any fluctuation from the engineering aspect, which is essential, and likewise on the operational aspect now we have a powerful crew collectively now.
“And now we have two actual quick drivers. Pierre, with extra expertise, and Yuki as a newcomer, as a rookie, however I believe that he’s studying quick and this mixture ought to assist us to deliver collectively a extra aggressive bundle because it was final 12 months.”
The crew scored its first F1 win beneath the AlphaTauri identify final 12 months, when Gasly triumphed within the Italian Grand Prix.
Further reporting by Erwin Jaeggi