Alonso relationship ’working well’ - Prost
"He gives advice when he can"
Fernando Alonso’s new relationship with Renault is already "working well", according to F1 legend and team advisor Alain Prost.
Spaniard Alonso, 39, is returning to the sport and the team as it becomes Alpine for 2021, but he will be trackside this weekend at Imola.
Prost says the working relationship with Alonso began some time ago.
"Fernando is very close to the team and the engineers," the Frenchman told AS newspaper.
"He goes to the simulator in England and is connected with the engineers during all the races. He knows everything," said Prost.
"He gives advice when he can, he has already driven the car in Spain and is in the meetings with Esteban and Daniel. We have all three drivers and it is working well, and Daniel (Ricciardo) is happy with this."
Prost says that although Alonso is only returning to Formula 1 to win, he also acknowledges that winning may need to wait until 2022.
"He is realistic," said Prost. "You know me - I’m also realistic. I will never say stupid things about when we are going to win with Fernando because it is not known.
"We are at one level and we want to reach another. We do not know when we will be there, but the most important thing is to reach it.
"Will the budget ceiling affect the other teams more than us? We operate underneath it now and have even had fewer resources than Sauber, Toro Rosso or McLaren in the past," said Prost.
"We do not have a large budget and from next year we will be at the same level. As for Fernando, it’s good that he sees next year to improve the car before reaching 2022. He will fight with a good, decent car but not a winner. In the future, we will see."
Publicly, Alonso is committing to Renault-Alpine for 2021 and 2022, and Prost admits that the length of their collaboration cannot be estimated for now.
"It depends on his motivation and the results of the team, but it’s something we have not thought much about for now," he said.
Prost says the first round of contract negotiations with Alonso were "easy enough".
"Because we all wanted to do it," he explains. "Renault is his family.
"Negotiations are never simple but he had the motivation. He was not motivated by money but by the project and to get back to Formula 1, and I really appreciate that."