Formula 1 drivers are going to face as tough a challenge as the teams next year in adapting to the new technical regulations, reckons former champion Alain Prost.
As F1 gears up for the switch to 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines, Prost is in no doubts about the amount of work that is going to be needed for anybody to be successful in 2014.
"It is a big technical challenge – and the way it is done is going to be a challenge for the engineers making the engine for performance, reliability and everything; a big challenge for people working on the track, for the strategy; and a big, big challenge for the drivers too," said Prost, in an interview with AUTOSPORT. "It is not going to be like the old days where you had to slow down for the fuel consumption. It will be a bit different.
"The way you are going to use the engine, relative to the quantity of the fuel, and relative to the extra energy you get from the electrical side, will be a great challenge for the drivers and engineers. And you are going to have a different way of using it.
"We still don't know how it will be today, but I think it is going to be interesting and very different."
Prost, who is helping Renault in an ambassadorial role, reckons there is the possibility for one team to emerge dominant next year, but thinks that is nothing new to F1.
"It's the first time for a long, long time that we have had such a big change," he explained. "You can never be sure if there is one fantastic idea or a good engineer has found something. But it is much more difficult today to find that idea than it was in the 1980s, when Colin Chapman was around or people were using active suspension.
"In F1, if somebody finds a fantastic idea he is going to be successful and others are going to make a copy and get better. But you need to accept that.
"We must accept the competition. If we have three big [engine] constructors next year, and we are going to have four [in 2015], so if somebody makes a better engine with the different technology and a different way of doing it and they have the success, then you have to say, 'Well done.'"