Prost hoping for 2014 French Grand Prix

Alain Prost, the quadruple world champion, is hopeful France host another Formula One race next season.

It has been five years since France last host an F1 race and both Magny Cours and Paul Ricard had been linked to hosting a 2013 Grand Prix.

“I still read in the press that there are opportunities for 2013,” Prost, who was involved in the talks, is quoted by France’s Sport24. “It is of course impossible. However, for 2014, there are possible openings (for France).

“There are a few grands prix in doubt but also many new projects considered by (Bernie) Ecclestone,” said Prost.


Prost plays down chances of 2013 Paul Ricard GP

Alain Prost has warned there is no guarantee France will return to the F1 calendar in 2013.

The four-time world champion has agreed to join Paul Ricard’s race bid as an advisor, and was promptly dispatched to Abu Dhabi reportedly for talks with Bernie Ecclestone and possibly also a meeting with potential local investors.

According to Auto Hebdo publication, however, the famous 57-year-old Frenchman is not very optimistic. Earlier, Prost was heavily involved in failed attempts to revive the defunct French grand prix at Disneyland Paris, or a new circuit in Flins-sur-Seine.

Now in Abu Dhabi, he said on Saturday: “I was out of the case because it was too complicated, too politicised. Then I went to the world series (race) at Le Castellet and was asked the question.

“I said what I thought at the moment, that things could not be done without a minimum of public money. But as I was coming to Abu Dhabi in my role as Renault ambassador which had been planned for six months, I said that I would look at some aspects of this case.”

While hopeful, Prost is realistic about Paul Ricard’s chances.

“The weak point is the lack of funds, even though they are in talks with several potential partners,” he said. “The budget is far from being completed,” said Prost.

“It will not be resolved in the meeting today, but it can be done in a couple of days, or not at all.”


Ecclestone to meet Prost over 2013 French GP

Paul Ricard has recruited Alain Prost to lead the talks with Bernie Ecclestone about reviving the French grand prix in 2013.

Media sources RMC Sport and L’Equipe said the four-time world champion and former F1 team owner has travelled to Abu Dhabi this weekend, to step up the talks with the F1 chief executive.

RMC said Prost’s meeting with Ecclestone is scheduled for Saturday.

“Alain Prost is a major asset,” said former F1 driver and Frenchman Patrick Tambay. “He knows Bernie Ecclestone very well. Frankly, he is the ideal man to represent France in this matter.”

Prost could be first to test Renault’s V6

F1 legend Alain Prost could be the first to sample the sport’s new V6 power.

In his first F1 test since McLaren in 1996, the quadruple world champion drove a modern Red Bull at the Renault World Series event at Paul Ricard last weekend. Already contracted to the team’s French V8 engine supplier Renault as an ambassador, the 57-year-old could now be first in line to test the new 1.6 litre turbo V6 for 2014.

“It was really helpful to take the wheel of a modern formula one car,” the Frenchman is quoted by the French-language F1i. “And maybe I’ll have another opportunity with the new engine in the next two months. It would be a good experience,” added Prost.

“I am interested in these new engines coming to Formula One. I will work very hard with Renault on this side, it’s our new goal.”


Prost, Jordan think Sauber move possible for Schumacher

With the news that Lewis Hamilton has signed a new deal with Mercedes, the rumour-mill has kicked in to gear over the future of Michael Schumacher.

Alain Prost does not believe that Schumacher will retire.

“I was not particularly positive when he returned (in 2010),” Prost said. “I don’t quite understand why. Maybe he’s going to Sauber now?” the quadruple world champion told RMC Sport, after testing a modern Red Bull F1 car at the Renault World Series event at Paul Ricard.

“It’s a very personal choice,” continued Prost, who ended his career with a fourth drivers’ championship in 1993. “I can understand that he is passionate and wants to continue driving, and it’s very difficult to judge from the outside. Everyone should live their life as they wish.

“I can understand his position. But at some point, you have to decide it’s enough.”

Asked what Schumacher’s biggest contribution to F1 is these days, Prost answered: “Passion in its purest form. It’s pretty amazing to see someone at that level.

“He drives for pleasure, on the bikes, go-karts … it’s to his credit.”

Eddie Jordan, who gave Schumacher his first F1 seat in 1991, thinks Sauber could be a good option for Schumacher.

“I think it could make sense,” he told Welt newspaper, “because the situation there is completely different. I imagine he would have the chance to live out his passion with a competitive car but also in a small racing team, with a much more intimate atmosphere than a global group like Mercedes.

“It could be just right for him,” added Jordan.


Prost: McLaren must bounce back immediately

Time is running out for McLaren to bounce back from its 2012 slump, according to former team champion Alain Prost.

Despite looking a title favourite early this year, Jenson Button dropped badly off the pace and even former championship leader Lewis Hamilton bemoaned the MP4-27’s flagging development after a bad British grand prix.

“If they don’t come back immediately, from Hockenheim, the next race, I think it’s going to be difficult,” Frenchman Prost, 57, told the Ria Novosti news agency.

He said Red Bull and Ferrari are now the obvious favourites in 2012.

“It looks like they (McLaren) do not understand what is happening with the new tyres, which is not good news,” added Prost.

Another former multiple title winner, Niki Lauda, told the Daily Mirror that the slump is not Button and Hamilton’s fault.

“They are both world champions and better than they were made to look at Silverstone,” said the Austrian legend, who won his third title with McLaren in 1984.

He hailed Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, the current championship leader, as the “toughest” and “cleverest” driver in the field.

That will make it hard for the McLaren drivers, said Lauda.

“It’s not the points difference that I’m talking about — it’s not over for them, but even if they score big Alonso won’t be far behind, so to reduce the gap is going to difficult,” he added.

Swiss commentator Marc Surer, meanwhile, said he thinks Alonso is almost matched for speed by F1’s reigning back-to-back champion Sebastian Vettel.

But where the Spaniard has an advantage is in keeping his emotions in check, he added.

“When they (emotions) come after the race, that’s ok,” he told the German broadcaster Sky. “Emotions in the cockpit, however, are dangerous, because then you make mistakes.

“I have to say that, of the two, Alonso is probably the cooler,” said Surer.


Prost: F1 in Bahrain a good decision

Four-time former world champion Alain Prost has admitted hindsight proves it was a “good decision” for F1 to race in Bahrain earlier this year.

But the great Frenchman, whose record of 51 wins was eclipsed only by Michael Schumacher, admits that in the days and weeks before the highly controversial event in the troubled Gulf kingdom, the right course was not so clear.

“I remember in 1985 when we went to South Africa, as a human and a driver you were attacked because you were there,” 57-year-old Prost, referring to apartheid, told the Telegraph at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. “The main thing is, is it worse not to go? Or is it better to go and try and help people to make things more normal? I am in the middle because I did not have all the information,” Prost said.

He said he actually sympathised with both sides of the argument, but ultimately decided not to go to the Bahrain grand prix.

“To be honest I didn’t want to,” said Prost, “because with all the controversy it’s better to be outside. But I don’t want to say we shouldn’t have been there or we should have gone there.

“I think, in the end, when everything went well, you can say ‘ok, it was a good decision’,” he smiled.


Prost: Ferrari needs new number two for Alonso

Alain Prost has tipped Ferrari to sign a new number two teammate for Fernando Alonso next year. It is widely expected that struggling Felipe Massa will be ousted at the end of his 2012 contract and the rumour mill is flying over potential replacements.

“Ferrari is unique,” four time world champion and former Ferrari driver Prost told Spanish AS newspaper in Monaco. “A new teammate for Alonso is complicated because he is such a strong driver.

“For them I think it’s best not to have two top-level drivers together. I honestly don’t know if taking on a young driver or a more experienced one is best. But in any case they shouldn’t have two first-class drivers, because they already have a number one with Alonso,” added the famous Frenchman.

Prost admitted he is a fan of Alonso’s.

“He is always there – always – and that is a characteristic of him. Sometimes his car is better, at other times less so, but he is always in the points, always there, never failing. In a championship like this, with so much equality, that is so important,” he added.