Ricciardo is worth top dollar - Prost
"Money is not a problem but it has to be justified"
Paying the big bucks for Daniel Ricciardo is an expense that Renault can fully justify.
That is the view of Alain Prost, an F1 legend who is now an ever-present special advisor for the French carmaker’s works team.
He told the Guardian newspaper he is "very happy" with his current role.
"Every time I can see something that is needed then I am there," said the Frenchman.
Prost, a quadruple world champion who is now 63 years old, said Renault is an "interesting" challenge that is different to anything a top team like Mercedes could offer him.
"Mercedes, they’re at the top and I don’t think I would have the motivation," he said. "Now it’s so difficult to get back to the top that I find it very interesting."
Prost said the goal is to help Renault not just win the world championship by 2020, but to be a top team that is then "always a top team".
But Renault is determined not to become a Mercedes or Ferrari-style spender, he insisted.
"We are not going to spend money unless we know that it is worth it. Mercedes and Ferrari may have a different philosophy."
Snapping up Ricciardo at the end of his Red Bull contract, for example, is an important signing for Renault.
"Daniel is more expensive than other drivers," Prost concedes. "When you need that to help the team we did it. Money is not a problem but it has to be justified.
"We have two top drivers, maybe one of the best lineups in F1 today," he said, also referring to Nico Hulkenberg. "They are Renault drivers, not owned by Red Bull or Mercedes.
"It shows everybody outside and inside that we want to do the best, the right choices at the right moment."