Four time world champion Alain Prost is in Monaco this weekend, working with Renault Sport to launch a concept car aimed at reviving the sporty Alpine brand. And he gave his verdict on the debate about F1 shifting towards entertainment and unpredictability which has been raging all season.
As a front running driver in his time, Prost would by instinct always be likely to prefer a dominant car package, but he said that he could see that the entertainment factor that comes with the unpredictability of F1 2012 is attractive to new audiences. But ultimately he feels, as many in F1 do, that’s it’s gone perhaps a bit too far. “It is not what I would like to see, but I can understand that the audience is going up a little bit and people are more interested in that, ” he said.
“If I talk for myself I would say yes it is maybe a little bit too unpredictable. You know F1, and you know you would like to understand a bit more about what is happening, but F1 has changed, and the public watching F1 has changed also at the same time. You cannot compare to what we had 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Now the public are quite pleased to see that it is not all the time the same driver or same car. That is the worst thing for F1 today – if one car or one driver is dominating too much.”
It was only last year that Sebastian Vettel totally dominated the championship in the Red Bull with the exhaust blown diffuser. Now the banning of that device and the narrow operating window of the Pirelli tyres means that it is very hard for teams to be consistent from race to race.
However the signs are that with every race that passes the teams learn more and in the second half of the season we should see more consistency from the top teams in particular, which will allow their developments parts to influence the performance of their car more, which will be a relief to the F1 engineers.
“If I think about the engineers in the teams it must be a nightmare, so it may be a little bit too much. But at least we have the show, we have the indecision and people are watching more and more F1, which is good.”