Prost says Renault should prioritise 2021
"It is our very big opportunity"
Alain Prost has admitted that Renault will race in 2020 with a very firm focus on the "big opportunity" of the new rules in 2021.
The French works team’s goal is to join Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull among the sport’s grandee teams, albeit with a smaller budget.
"We showed last year that you can win races with our engine," team boss Cyril Abiteboul told Auto Motor und Sport.
And team advisor Prost added: "We can do the same with aerodynamics if we hang in like we did with the engine."
Abiteboul continues: "McLaren showed what can be achieved with team restructuring and new people. They’re just a year ahead with the change than we are."
Prost said the all-new rules for 2021 are Renault’s "big opportunity", but that will involve scaling back the focus on the 2020 car and looking ahead.
"The top teams have the money for two programs," said the F1 legend.
"Even if they develop quite normally for 2020, they have a budget for 2021 that is as big as ours for both years."
The obvious conclusion is that Renault needs to seriously prioritise 2021.
"Then we could prepare for 2021 under almost the same conditions as the top teams," said Prost. "It is our very big opportunity."
However, Renault is under pressure from its executive board, who require immediate results to justify the huge expenditure on Formula 1.
Prost said: "We have to make a big decision now.
"A team like Renault can’t write off a season to sacrifice it for 2021. We need to do reasonably well."
Therefore, the task is to convince that board that the 2020 ’sacrifice’ will pay off in the future.
"If the budget cap and the new distribution come, we can reorganise our team financially. Then only the cost of the engine, which is too high at the moment, will remain," said Abiteboul.
"Everyone will build new engines for 2021 because the new cars require a different installation and cooling. But after that there is no reason why we shouldn’t freeze the development."
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