Alain Prost has urged calm amidst the current global credit crunch that has rocked Formula 1 since Honda's shock departure late last year – insisting now is the time to think, not panic.
The former quadruple world champion ran his own team in the top flight – Prost Grand Prix – from 1997 until its collapse at the end of the 2001 campaign, and he contends that since then, spending has spiralled quite literally out of control.
It was just such a catalyst, he suggests, that precipitated Honda's decision to withdraw and major sponsors to re-evaluate their backing – but he is adamant that knee-jerk reactions will only make the situation worse.
“I prefer people who say 'let's think' rather than 'let's stop',” the 53-year-old told the Associated Press
. “Honda aside, I don't think there is panic.
“In F1, everyone is in the same boat with having to reduce budgets, and in the last ten years I had never seen F1 with such an abundance of resources.”
Since walking away from the grand prix paddock, Prost has participated in ice racing in the guise of the Trophée Andros in his homeland, as well as supporting the burgeoning career of his young son Nicolas, 2008 Euroseries F3000 Champion. The Frenchman argues that although he competed during the sport's 'golden years', not everything was better back then…
“There is less overtaking and more strategy,” the 51-time grand prix winner, dubbed 'The Professor', reflected of the current state of proceedings. “Everything happens on the pit wall and the drivers just go.
“We had to save the brakes and the gearboxes and monitor fuel consumption, but now it has all been organised by the starting grid. Today I am making more money, but I am less interested in the world of F1.
“I experienced the golden age, but there were crashes, deaths. The drivers today are in a golden age of safety.”