Four-time Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost was confirmed today as a special advisor to Renault Sport Racing, but his comments about the sport’s future were more important than his newly announced role with the team.
Prost, who’s spent a lot of time in the FIA Formula E world with the Renault e.dams team and son Nico, one of that team’s two drivers, said F1 has to work harder to attract younger fans as it heads into its new dawn under the new ownership group from Liberty Media Corporation.
“I think the vision is difficult to tell today,” Prost said during Renault’s launch today in London. “We have a new buyer. CVC isn’t there anymore; Liberty is. With the teams having Ross Brawn to work with, that’s a good asset.
“We need more than a vision. We need two goals. We need to bring spectators and young guys, and talking more about interactivity is more or less what we do in Formula E. That would be obvious.
“We need to have more of a human side. More people are interested in the drivers than the technology and performance.”
That dig comes a bit at F1’s hybrid technical regulations that have come into play the last few years, which has seen Mercedes AMG Petronas firmly at the head of the development curve and having won all but eight races since the start of 2014 (Red Bull with five wins, Ferrari with three).
Prost did say the reset for 2017, which features the new wider tires and wider bodies and wings, could help in that pursuit of bringing in new fans.
“I think it’s very positive for Formula 1. You needed a new cycle. These cars will be very impressive. I hope it brings new and young spectators,” he said.
Prost confirmed he won’t have a day-to-day role with Renault but will be part of the team’s executive committee.
“I must say what is important is that Renault is competitive and can win as soon as possible,” he said. “It’s not the first time I’ve been involved! But I won’t have a day-to-day role. It will be a bit more from behind.
“Together with Jerome and Cyril, my role is to give the input to give the best strategy possible to be good for the future.”