Renault ambassador Alain Prost says underperforming French firm need to change
Legendary Frenchman says he knows what needs to happen
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 23/06/14 12:38pm
Renault ambassador and four-times World Champion Alain Prost believes the French engine maker must make internal changes in order to improve the competitiveness of their V6 power unit as they can “not accept” their current level of performance.
The manufacturer came under fresh fire from Red Bull chief Christian Horner in the wake of an Austrian GP which saw six Mercedes-powered cars finish in the top seven positions and the World Champions finish only eighth with one car and eventually retire with the other after an early engine electronics fault.
With Horner labelling Renault’s performance and reliability levels “unacceptable”, the French firm are coming under increasing public pressure from their principal customer to resolve their problems, amid imminent discussions over Red Bull’s future engine plans.
Prost has now had his say on Renault's ongoing struggles, with the Frenchman's views carrying particular weight given his long-running association with the French manufacturer which dates back to his days as a driver for their original works team in the 1980s.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, the 59-year-old admitted that the way in which Renault are currently being outperformed by their German carmaker rivals is far from satisfactory.
Asked if he could foresee Renault’s current problems before the start of this year, the Frenchman replied: “In a way, yes. You cannot judge exactly the level, but obviously Mercedes has done a very good job and they really push hard and make a lot of effort, a lot of investment and it’s not the same when you are a partner and talking about more commercial issues.
“So things need to change. It’s really a shame having been four times World Champion consecutively with Red Bull, we should not accept that. As a competitor I am not expecting that and things should be much, much better than that. Even if you need to accept that you can lose sometimes – no problem, that’s competition – but not this way.”
Although the 51-times grand prix winner admits he doesn’t have direct influence over Renault Sport’s F1 project in his current role, Prost nonetheless hinted he knew what changes could be made to improve their flagging fortunes.
“I could have [some influence] a little bit. I said a lot of things last year already about what would happen or what could happen and this year I’m obviously not very happy, but I’m not in charge of any project or management,” he added.
“You need to analyse and change the situation in terms of organisation and the way you organise yourself. We have four teams but maybe [Renault need to] do something a little bit different. I know what to do, it would be the best, I don’t know if they are going to make it [the changes].”