Renault admit they can't give Fernando Alonso a winning car in 2018
Spaniard wants to be a winner next year but Renault advisor Alain Prost admits the team are unlikely to be at the front before 2020
By Pete Gill and Sky Sports News HQ's Craig Slater
Last Updated: 29/05/17 8:33am
Renault will not be able to offer Fernando Alonso a winning car next season, the team's 'special advisor' Alain Prost has admitted.
And Prost has conceded that despite Renault's recent progress, the team are unlikely to be title contenders in 2019 either.
Alonso, who won both of his F1 world titles with Renault a decade ago, is out of contract with McLaren at the end of the year and has warned he will leave unless he is persuaded the team can be winners in 2018.
But while Renault are the favourites to sign Alonso for next season, Prost has poured cold water on the speculation with the admission that the team, still finding their feet after returning to the status of fully-fledged works outfit barely a year ago, will not yet be able to give the Spaniard what he craves in the foreseeable future.
"Fernando wants to win races or championships," Prost told Sky Sports News HQ. "I don't think we can offer him a car to be world champion next year - and also maybe in two years."
While Renault have sporadically appeared to be the fourth-fastest package on the grid this season, those glimpses of pace and progress have not yet translated into points: Renault have scored just 14 so far, compared to 161 for leaders Mercedes. It's a shortfall which underlines just how far the team still have to climb to return to the summit of the sport.
"We have to be very realistic. I have been in this business for almost forty years and l know how difficult it is going to be," added Prost.
"We have to be really careful about that. We want to progress but we cannot have stupid objectives only because Fernando would be there."
A return to Ferrari is another, albeit less viable, potential option for Alonso next year with the 35-year-old confirming he will consider his future plans after the summer break. But the double world champion has clarified he is determined to stay in F1 in 2018 as he continues his hunt for that elusive third world championship.
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