SINGAPORE - The downsizing of the Formula 1 engines next season may not come at the best of times, but it will have benefits that go beyond the sport.
Four-time world champion Alain Prost feels that the move may connect the sport to more people, and road cars in the future will benefit from the technology transfer from the sport.
One day after a number of smaller teams blasted the decision, citing a rise in cost, the 58-year-old Frenchman addressed the controversial issue last Saturday in the paddock, ahead of the qualifying session for the Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix.
"It is a period for Formula 1 that is difficult because costs are a bit more, so we must admit that it's not the right timing, but the philosophy behind it is very good," said Prost.
"These engines are much closer to what we are going to see more and more in road cars and Formula 1 must stay connected to that industry."
There will be an entire array of changes in the sport next season, the biggest being the downsizing of the 2.4-litre V8 engines to smaller, 1.6l turbo engines.
However, the research and testing of these new engines have contributed to higher costs in the sport, with team principals from the likes of Caterham lashing out at a Friday night press conference here about failure to reduce expenditure in an already-expensive racing industry.
Prost, who won three world titles with McLaren (1985, 1986, 1989) and another with Williams (1993), said: "I don't disagree with the team principals... there's always been a difference between the top teams and the smaller ones and every time there's a change in regulations it's always an advantage to the big teams.
"But you cannot talk about the engine alone but also how it integrates with the rest of the car. Perhaps someone can do something different and help his team in the second part of the grid."