‘I finally broke him’ - Speed on his F1-career-ending bust-up with Tost

Scott Speed has opened up about his altercation with Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost that ultimately led to him losing his F1 seat in 2007. 
‘I finally broke him’ - Speed on his F1-career-ending bust-up with Tost

Speed became the first American to race in F1 since Michael Andretti in 1993 when he was named as a Toro Rosso driver for the team’s debut season in 2006. 

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After spinning out of the 2007 European Grand Prix when a sudden downpour hit the track, Speed was involved in a heated altercation with Toro Rosso team principal Tost. 

Tost reportedly grabbed Speed by the neck during the argument, though the Austrian later refuted the claim. 

The bust-up resulted in Speed being replaced by Red Bull's rising star Sebastian Vettel from the next race in Hungary. 

“I had such a great experience and Franz [Tost] was super pissed,” Scott told the Beyond the Grid Podcast. “I was just too happy about what happened. 

“He asked what happened in Turn 1. I said ‘well, the same thing that happened to everybody else down there. I hydroplaned off the track. What do you mean what happened? There's seven cars sitting out there.’ 

“And he says ‘no, not everybody, just the w*****s.’ I told him to ‘f-off’ and I just totally dismissed him. He came chasing after me and let me know how displeased he was. 

‘I finally broke him’ - Speed on his F1-career-ending bust-up with Tost

"I probably would have acted the same way. I showed him zero respect. I was just this young cocky kid and I finally found the limit of Franz's patience. I finally broke him. 

“I think I was at home waiting to go to the next race. They called and said they’re going to put Vettel in the car. At that point Vettel was like the golden child. 

“I remember watching by the computer at the Hungaroring. Sure enough, Vettel qualifies 19th. I don’t remember where he raced but it wasn’t amazing at all. 

"Then I knew for sure. ‘Well, okay, great. I can pack my bag, I can go wherever I want. I know that I'm elite. I know I'm one of the best. Maybe I'm not the best but I was so far beyond what I thought as a kid I would ever achieve, I was super happy. 

“Then came the opportunities, the meetings with Williams and other opportunities to race. But ultimately, when I met with Dietrich Mateschitz soon after, I said ‘I want to go home. Can we race NASCAR?’ 

“He was fully supportive and I started a really humbling journey. The dissolution of the Scott Speed ego began at that moment.”

‘I finally broke him’ - Speed on his F1-career-ending bust-up with Tost

Speed, who went on to race in NASCAR before becoming a multiple champion in Rallycross, admitted he had a “super cocky and arrogant” attitude and lacked the motivation to keep getting better in F1. 

“I just look back at a silly kid,” he said. “It’s kind of embarrassing, honestly. I obviously had a lot of ability. I was very good at driving that type of vehicle. 

“I don't think I was at the level of Rosberg’s or your Lewis’s from my generation. Those guys were special. Obviously, Lewis still is because he's still competing with this next generation of driver, which is remarkable and truly insane. 

“But my reason for competing was that I wanted to see how good I was. I certainly didn't have a good mindset.” 

“I was put into some incredibly great environments by Red Bull to help me succeed and help me develop, because when I left America and went over there, I didn't have the ability to do it, but they did a great job of placing me with good teams up the ladder where I could learn, even though I didn't realise I was learning. 

“I just thought that, if I was fast, it was because the car was good and if we were slow, then the car was crap. I had no responsibility for any of that. I honestly just thought that as a racing driver you were either fast or you were slow, which is pretty silly. But at the time that was my perspective. 

“So for me it was more like ‘Well, how far can I go on motor racing?’ Once I saw where that was, I realised, ‘I'm a pretty decent F1 driver. I can compete with these guys.’ And in my mind I was like ‘yeah, if I change teams, I could run over here and I could run in this position.’ I'd mapped it all out. 

“When I realised that I was checked out, I didn't have the drive to keep getting better. I didn't have the drive to keep pushing myself. 

"Without that proper motivation, it ended the way it did. I wasn't the guy that was going to take a team and make everything better.” 

‘I finally broke him’ - Speed on his F1-career-ending bust-up with Tost

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