Alain Prost said Sunday that motor racing must continue the relentless pursuit of "even better" safety standards following the death of his young protege Anthoine Hubert in a Formula 2 race.
"There are no words," Prost told F1 TV. "Twenty-two is much too young."
Acting as Renault's non-executive team director, Prost, a four-time world champion, had overseen Hubert's progress and was a close friend of the 22-year-old driver from Lyon.
Prost revealed that Renault had agreed a 2020 F2 programme for their junior driver earlier on the day of his death on Saturday.
"It is a hard day for the racing community," he told F1 TV. "It was very sad and very tough for us. As you know, he was a member of our academy and it was a tough day with family there and friends and a brother.
"It is something that I personally remember that we got in the 1980's. We always think that it cannot happen any more, but yes it can happen. We know motor racing is dangerous.
"It always happens to young people."
"It is very tough, but we can see we are all together and we need to make things even better."
"We love this sport, we love life."
Prost added that he had pushed Hubert in the Renault Academy and they spoke regularly.
"He was a nice kid, very intelligent, very clever and very curious." He did some F1 tests with us this year in Austria and we had a programme for him fixed in F2 for next year since Saturday..."
"We wanted to help him into F1 it is very sad."
Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul said both of his F1 drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg were affected by Hubert's death on Saturday.
"It's going to be strange being racing, but that's why we're also saying we will be racing for Anthoine," he said.
"We want that on our car because that's precisely what we'll be doing."
A minute's silence was held on Sunday morning, with Hubert's mother and brother in attendance, before the F3 race and another minute of reflection before the F1 Grand Prix.