Prost: 'Negative' Hulkenberg not what Renault needs in 2020

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Renault advisor Alain Prost has suggested Nico Hulkenberg's "negative" attitude contributed to his exit at the end of this season.

At Spa, it was confirmed that Esteban Ocon would replace the German, who first joined in 2017, in a deal which allowed Mercedes to retain Valtteri Bottas.

However, Prost has been pretty outspoken about other reasons for replacing Hulkenberg, first suggesting he turned down a contract and now claiming Renault needed a change in atmosphere.

"We'll have a hard enough time at Renault next year, so it was important to appoint a motivated driver for next season," the four-time world champion said via GPToday.

"We don't want to have any pessimistic drivers in our team and that's why we chose Ocon, who is very motivated after a year on the side of the road.

"Nico is pretty negative, but he's also right on certain points. However, we have to look ahead and then we can't use the negativity of a driver. Especially since next year will be a very difficult season for us."

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Prost's point about 2020 being a "very difficult season" for Renault might surprise some as the company try to once again became a top team in F1, but he would explain why.

"I can be honest, we're going to focus on 2021," he revealed. "As a result, next season will be a mediocre to perhaps even bad season for us.

"Because of the new rules coming up for 2021, it makes no sense for us to develop much more for 2020. We are going to make a lot of changes and hope to perform at a high level in 2021."