Prost rejects calls for F1 overhaul
Formula One legend Alain Prost went some way on Friday to calming the storm that threatens to rock the sport by rejecting the idea that an overhaul is needed.
As the Formula One teams enjoyed some intermittent sunshine in the famous Mediterranean harbour on the traditional rest day at the Monaco Grand Prix, the four-time champion Frenchman provided a sense of balance and perspective.
After weeks of in-fighting over the fast-wearing tyres supplied by Pirelli this year and a seemingly insatiable desire for more and more pit-stops and contrived spectacle, Prost suggested a moderate approach to fine-tuning 'the show' was needed.
Indeed, he suggested that F1 should celebrate the fact that there is so much incident and that there is more uncertainty now than there was in the past.
"At the end of the day, you must remember that people criticised a lot when one driver made the pole position, led the race and then nothing happened," he said.
"You want it somewhere in the middle and I think the compromise today is not bad - because at least we have a show. We have a long season, with a lot of uncertainty - and that is the most important for F1."
Prost, a four-time winner of the Monaco race, said it is too easy this season for people inside and outside the paddock to criticise the racing without stepping back and looking at a bigger picture.
And he suggested that next year's switch to a new 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine will also be a boost to F1, in providing another talking point for fans.
"If you have this new technology, it means you have something to sell also that is different to today," he explained. "And if you still have the show, that's even better."
Prost, famously nicknamed 'the Professor' for the clever strategic approach he took to racing, added that he doubted if he would have been able to race that way in the current F1.
"I don't know if I could do the same job," he said. "I don't think you can compare the tyres today to the tyres in my period.
"Even if you had only one manufacturer, to have more or less what we had in the 1980s you would have to have two or three choices of compound and then you do what you want. With no obligation to stop.
"Now you only start the race with the tyres you qualify with, and that's it. Even if you want to put hard tyres on the left and soft on the right you cannot. It's different today."
As Prost reminded Monaco paddock veterans of 'the good old days', the leading drivers of the modern era were keeping a low profile - notably the two Mercedes men who were fastest in Thursday's opening practice and who have apartments in the same building overlooking the harbour.
German Nico Rosberg and Briton Lewis Hamilton, old friends and keen rivals, were able to enjoy being at home during a Grand Prix weekend and to escape the pressures.
Both know they face a major test of their talent and nerves again on Saturday in qualifying for the 71st running of the calendar's glamorous showpiece event - a race that a works Mercedes team has not won since the monochrome days of the 1930s.
The last man to steer a Mercedes over the line as a winner was Manfred Von Brauchitsch on August 8, 1937, a triumph that completed a hat-trick of victories for the Germans in the principality.