Prost: F1 needs to increase human element over technology

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Four-time Formula 1 champion Alain Prost believes the human element of the sport needs to be increased rather than a reliance on technology.

Today, almost everything in F1 is simulation-orientated, whether it be the development of the cars, the ability for drivers to hone their skills and particularly race weekends where teams are able to produce the best strategies based on data and telemetry.

As a result, it has taken a lot of the unpredictability and innovation out of the process, meaning it is only when an unexpected scenario, such as rain or Safety Cars, interferes that the human element takes over.

"We are in a period where we have a lot of technology, a lot of data," Prost, currently a Renault advisor told the FIA's Auto publication.

"That technology is fantastic and for the major engine manufacturers, it's very good, as there is more and more a link between society and competition.

"Having said that, if we talk about the future direction of the sport, then, in my opinion, we should go towards a Formula 1 where there is more ingenuity, where we have more surprises, more strategic possibilities," he stated.

"We need to make the sport more human – drivers, engineers. We need to accent the human side, and maybe focus a little bit less on technology.

"Of course we need to have that extreme engineering but I think we need to have more of a balance.

"Then I think Formula 1 will be a little bit more understandable for people outside of the sport."

Commercially too, the sport has changed although the recent Netflix series Drive to Survive has been widely praised for offering a much less filtered insight into the men behind the wheel.

"Nowadays drivers, we need to be very careful with what we say on TV. There is so much money, and so many sponsors involved, that you have to be so careful with what you say, what comments you make," McLaren's Carlos Sainz explained.

"I guess Netflix was a good way to just show yourself a bit in front of cameras, but out of that environment, and show yourself how you are in reality. If people like it, perfect. If not, tough luck. But that's who I am, you know.

"Many people go back to the '70s and '80s when drivers would go into a motorhome of another driver and punch him in the face or something like that," the Spaniard noted.

"Many people in Formula 1 are nostalgic about that but I don't think it's one thing or another. We need to find the right balance. It's a tough way to find it, but we should care about it."