Alain Prost believes that Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull are “lucky” that Formula 1’s rules are changing next year.
Although the radical switch to V6 turbo engines is expected to act as a reset for the competitive order in 2014, Prost, global ambassador for Renault, thinks that the arrival of a new-look F1 is actually good news for Red Bull. The four-time champion thinks that the challenge posed by the new rules will prevent Red Bull from getting complacent after its run of titles, and more crucially it will have fired up design chief Adrian Newey to excel again.
“In a way Sebastian and the team, they are lucky that there is a change of regulations,” explained Prost. “They have won four times, which is really exceptional. But with this new regulation you cannot lose the motivation because you are obliged to work again. Adrian is obviously very happy as he has a new bone, a new target, and that is fantastic.”
There have been suggestions in recent weeks that Vettel needs to prove himself by winning for a team other than Red Bull, but Prost thinks that winning under the 2014 rules would be just as good for the German.
“Next season is not the season where you want to go away,” he said. “You want to stay with what you know, and the way he is working with the team it is going to be quite essential for the team to keep him.
“If I was him, proving that he can win with new regulations and a new car, with something different, that will be the best answer and we see what is going on in the future.”
In fact, Prost is skeptical that Vettel ever needs to leave Red Bull to prove himself, as he thinks his priority should just be to always be in the best car.
“[Fernando] Alonso was considered as a top driver, and if you are not in the best car you cannot win,” he said. “So if the question is, should he change teams to prove to the public or to you [media] that? I would say no.
“You do not change team for this reason. You change because you think you are tired, or you lost motivation, or you had a problem inside the team, or you think the best future is maybe with another car.”