- Alain Prost
Infobox F1 driver
Name = Alain Prost
Caption = Prost at the
2008 Canadian Grand Prix
Nationality = flagicon|France French
Nickname = "The Professor"
Years = 1980–1991, 1993
Team(s) = McLaren, Renault, Ferrari, Williams
Races = 202 (199 starts)
Championships = 4 (1985, 1986, 1989, 1993)
Wins = 51
Podiums = 106
Points = 768.5 (798.5)Up until F1|1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of pointscoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.]
Poles = 33
Fastest laps = 41
First race =
1980 Argentine Grand Prix
First win =
1981 French Grand Prix
Last win =
1993 German Grand Prix
Last race =
1993 Australian Grand Prix
Alain Marie Pascal Prost, OBE (born 24 February 1955) is a French racing driver. A four-time Formula One Drivers' Champion, only
Juan Manuel Fangioand Michael Schumacherhave won more titles than Prost. From 1987 until 2001 Prost held the record for most Grand Prix victories. Schumacher surpassed Prost's total of 51 victories at the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix. In 1999, Prost received the "World Sports Awards of the Century" in the motor sport category along all-time greats like Pele, Ali, Lewis and Graf. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19991121/ai_n14263517 The Independent (London), Nov 21, 1999] , Retrieved 8 March 2008; [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_2_97/ai_58411586 Jet, Dec 13, 1999] , Retrieved 8 March 2008; [http://www.prostfan.com/infos.htm Prostfan.com - Profile] , Retrieved 8 March 2008]
Prost discovered karting at the age of 14 during a family holiday. He progressed through motor sport's junior ranks, winning the French and European
Formula Threechampionships, before joining the McLarenFormula One team in 1980 at the age of 25. He finished in the points on his Formula One debut and took his first race victory at his home Grand Prix in France a year later, while he was driving for Renault's factory team.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Prost formed a fierce rivalry with
Ayrton Sennaand Nigel Mansell. In 1986, at the last race of the season, he managed to pip Mansell and Nelson Piquetof Williams to the title. Senna joined Prost at McLaren in 1988 and the two had a series of controversial clashes, including a collision at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prixthat gave Prost his third Drivers' Championship. A year later at the same venue they collided again, but this time Prost, driving for Ferrari, lost out. Before the end of a winless 1991 season Prost was fired by Ferrari for his public criticism of the team. After a sabbaticalin 1992, Prost joined the Williams team, prompting reigning drivers' champion Mansell to leave for CART. With a competitive car, Prost won the 1993 championship but he retired at the end of the year rather than be teammates with Senna who signed for 1994.
In 1997, Prost took over the French
Ligierteam, running it as Prost Grand Prixuntil it went bankrupt in 2001. In 2006, Prost started his fourth year in the Andros Trophy, which is an ice racingcompetition.
Prost employed a smooth, relaxed style behind the wheel, deliberately modeling himself on personal heroes like
Jackie Stewartand Jim Clark. [Roebuck, Nigel (1986) "Grand Prix Greats" p. 131 Book Club Associates ISBN 0-85059-792-7] He was nicknamed 'The Professor' for his intellectual approach to competition. Skilled at setting up his car for race conditions, Prost would often conserve his brakes and tyres early on in a race, leaving them fresher for a challenge at the end of the race. [http://www.formula1.com/teams_and_drivers/hall_of_fame/36/ Hall of Fame — Alain Prost] , Formula1.com. Paragraph 6. Retrieved 16 August 2006.] Motor sport journalist Denis Jenkinsondescribed Prost as "a very warm and uncomplicated man who doesn't rely on passion or inspiration. Nor does he indulge in showmanship or bullshit. He is capable of a level of mental discipline beyond the comprehension of most people." [http://www.forix.com/8w/prost.html 8W — Who? — Alain Prost] , Forix.com. Paragraph 24. Retrieved 16 August 2006.]
Personal and early life
Alain Prost was born near
Saint-Chamond, in the départementof Loirein Franceto André and Marie-Rose Prost, who was of Armenian descent. [ [http://www.prostfan.com/1921_54.htm Alain's Biography] (1921–54), ProstFan.com. Retrieved 22 November 2006.] Prost had one younger brother called Daniel, who died of cancerin September 1986. [ [http://www.prostfan.com/infos.htm Alain Prost Siblings] , ProstFan.com. Retrieved 25 September 2006.] Although short, Prost was an active, athletic child, who enthusiastically took part in diverse sports, including wrestling, roller skatingand football. In doing so he broke his nose several times. ["Hall of Fame — [http://www.formula1.com/teams_and_drivers/hall_of_fame/36/ Alain Prost] ", Formula1.com. Paragraph 2. Retrieved 16 August 2006.] He considered careers as a gym instructor or a professional footballer before he discovered kart racingat the age of 14 while on a family holiday. ["Hall of Fame — [http://www.formula1.com/teams_and_drivers/hall_of_fame/36/ Alain Prost] ", Formula1.com. Paragraph 1. Retrieved 16 August 2006.] This new sport quickly became his career of choice.
Prost is married to Anne-Marie (born 14 February 1955). They have two sons, Nicolas (born 18 October 1981) and Sacha Prost (born 30 May 1990). Prost also has a daughter, Victoria . As of 2008, Nicolas races in the Euroseries 3000 championship for the Elk Motorsport team. [" [http://www.prostfan.com/nicolas.htm - Nicolas' career year by year, 2003 - 2008] ", ProstFan.com. Retrieved 24 March 2008.] Prost lived in his hometown, Saint-Chamond, until he and his Renault team fell out in the early 1980s. In April 1983 the Prost family moved to Sainte-Croix,
Switzerlandand shortly after to Yens, Switzerland. They lived there until November 1999, when they moved to Nyonin the same country. [ [http://www.prostfan.com/index.htm Alain Prost Information] , ProstFan.com] . Retrieved 17 August 2006.]
Prost won several karting championships in his teens. In 1974 he left school to become a full-time racer, supporting himself by tuning engines and becoming a kart distributor. His prize for winning the 1975 French senior karting championship was a season in French [There were several national Formula Renault championships in Europe.]
Formula Renault, [http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/drv-proala.html Alain Prost] , GrandPrix.com. Retrieved October 2006.] a category in which he won the title and all but one race in 1976.
Prost went on to win the 1977 Formula Renault European championship before moving up to
Formula Three(F3) in 1978. In 1979 he won both the French and European F3 championships, by which time he was on the shopping lists of several Formula One teams. After carefully considering his options, he chose to sign with McLarenfor 1980. He surprised the British team by declining their offer of a race drive in a third car at the final race of the 1979 season — reasoning that the token effort would benefit neither him or the team.Roebuck, Nigel "Grand Prix Greats" 1986, p. 126. Book Club Associates ISBN 0-85059-792-7]
Prost began his career with
McLarenin 1980 alongside Ulsterman John Watson. On his debut in Argentina he finished in sixth place earning one point, something achieved by only a handful of drivers. Prost added four more points to his tally during the season, scoring points in Brazil, Britain and the Netherlands. Prost finished the year 15th in the drivers' championship, equalling points with former world champion Emerson Fittipaldi. Despite the encouraging debut season, Prost had several accidents, breaking his wrist in one of them and suffering a concussion in another. At the end of the season, despite having two years remaining on his contract, he left McLaren and signed with Renault. Prost has said that he left because of the large number of breakages on the car and because he felt the team blamed him for some of the accidents.
;1981Prost was partnered with fellow Frenchman
René Arnouxfor 1981. Motor sports author Nigel Roebuckreports that there were problems between Prost and Arnoux from the start of the season, Prost being immediately quicker than his more experienced teammate.Roebuck, Nigel "Grand Prix Greats" 1986, p. 129. Book Club Associates ISBN 0-85059-792-7] He did not finish the first two Grands Prix, due to collisions with Andrea de Cesarisin Long Beach and Siegfried Stohrin Jacarepaguá, but scored his first podium finish in Argentina. He retired in the next four races before winning his first Formula One race at his home Grand Prix in France, finishing two seconds ahead of his old teammate John Watson. For Prost, his debut victory was memorable mostly for the change it made in his mindset. "Before, you thought you could do it," he said. "Now you know you can."Hall of Fame — [http://www.formula1.com/teams_and_drivers/hall_of_fame/36/ Alain Prost] , formula1.com. Retrieved 7 October 2006.] Prost won two more races during the season, as well as his first pole positionin the Netherlands and finished fifth in the drivers' championship, seven points behind champion Nelson Piquet.
;1982Prost won the first two Grands Prix of the 1982 season in South Africa and Brazil. He finished in the points on four other occasions, but did not win again. Despite retiring from seven races, Prost improved on his drivers' championship position, finishing in fourth, but with nine fewer points than the previous year. His relationship with Arnoux deteriorated further after the French Grand Prix. Prost believes that Arnoux, who won the race, went back on a pre-race agreement to support Prost during the race. His relationship with the French media was also poor. He has since commented that "When I went to Renault the journalists wrote good things about me, but by 1982 I had become the bad guy. I think, to be honest, I had made the mistake of winning! The French don't really like winners."
;1983Arnoux left Renault in 1983, and American
Eddie Cheeverreplaced him as Prost's partner. Prost earned a further four victories for Renault during the season and finished second in the drivers' championship, two points behind Nelson Piquet. Piquet and the Brabhamteam overhauled Prost and Renault in the last few races of the season. Prost, who felt the team had been too conservative in developing the car, found himself increasingly at odds with Renault's management, who made him the scapegoat for failing to win a championship. In addition to that, the French fans recalled the bitter fight that had caused their favourite, Arnoux, to leave the team. Renault dropped Prost only two days after the last race of the season. He re-signed for McLaren for the 1984 season within days and moved his family home to Switzerland.
;1984The Frenchman joined double world champion
Niki Laudaat McLaren in 1984, driving the McLaren MP4/2using TAG-Porsche engines. He lost the world championship to Lauda in the final race by half a point, despite winning seven races to Lauda's five. The half point came from the Monaco Grand Prix, where Prost had been leading, albeit with Ayrton Sennaand Stefan Bellofclosing on him rapidly, when officials stopped the race at half distance due to heavy rain. Under Formula One regulations, Prost received only half of the nine points normally awarded for a victory. [ [http://www.gpracing.net192.com/races/reports/394.cfm Prost wins under a cloud of controversy] , GPRacing.net192.com. Retrieved 25 January 2007.]
;1985In 1985 Prost became the first French Formula One World Champion. He won five of the sixteen Grands Prix during the season. He had also won the San Marino Grand Prix, but was disqualified after his car was found to be underweight in post-race
scrutineering. [cite web | title = 1985 San Marino Grand Prix | url = http://www.gpracing.net192.com/races/reports/407.cfm | work = GPRacing.net192.com|accessdate = 2006-10-07 ] Prost finished 23 points ahead of his closest rival, Michele Alboreto. Prost's performance in 1985 earned him the Légion d'honneurdistinction in France.
;1986Niki Lauda retired in 1986, and was replaced at McLaren by 1982 Champion
Keke Rosberg. Prost successfully defended his title, despite his car struggling against the Honda-powered Williams cars driven by Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell. [cite web | title = 1986 Australian Grand Prix | url = http://www.gpracing.net192.com/races/reports/436.cfm | work = GPRacing.net192.com | accessdate = 2006-10-07 ] Until the latter stages of the final race of the 1986 season, the Australian Grand Prix, Prost appeared set to finish second in the Championship, behind Mansell. Prost had the same amount of wins as Piquet, but he had four second places to Piquet's three, thus placing him second before the final race. While leading, Mansell suffered a tyre failure at high speed, and crashed out. The Williams team called his teammate Piquet in to change tyres as a safety precaution, handing the race victory — and Championship — to Prost, who had already pitted. Another memorable race that year for Prost was at the San Marino Grand Prix. He was cruising to victory when his car began to run out of fuel three corners from the chequered flag. Frantically weaving the car back and forth to slosh the last drops of fuel into the pickup, he managed to keep it running just long enough to creep over the line and win the race. It happened again at the German Grand Prix: while running in fourth position, Prost's car ran out of fuel on the finishing straight of the last lap. Instead of retiring, Prost got out of his car and tried to push it to the finish, to great applause from the crowd. The finish line was too far, though, and he never reached it. He was classified sixth in the race, as the seventh-placed car was a lap behind. [cite web | title = Grand Prix Results: German GP, 1986 | url = http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr430.html | publisher = GrandPrix.com | accessdate = 2006-11-07 ]
;1987With Rosberg retiring from Formula One for the 1987 season,
Stefan Johanssonfilled the McLaren seat alongside Prost thanks to his Marlboro connections. [cite web | title = 8W - Who? - Alain Prost | url = http://www.forix.com/8w/prost.html | work = Forix.com Paragraph 18|accessdate = 2006-08-16 ] Even though Prost was driving a by now outclassed McLaren, he challenged Piquet and Mansell almost until the end, winning three races and breaking Jackie Stewart's record for race victories by winning for the 28th time. Prost considers the Brazilian Grand Prix as his best and most rewarding race ever. The Williams-Hondas had been dominant during qualifying, and Prost started fifth on the grid. He had worked on his race set-up, and with everyone else going for a high-downforce set-up, the Frenchman went the other way. The set-up meant less tyre wear, thanks to slower speeds in the corners while going fast down the straights. Only one stop was necessary, and Prost won the race by 40 seconds.
Prost finished the 1987 season in fourth place, 30 points behind champion Nelson Piquet.
Despite Nelson Piquet winning the Drivers' Championship and Williams winning the Constructors' Championship, Honda decided not to supply Williams with their engines and instead supplied the McLaren team for 1988. Prost had convinced
Ron Dennisto sign Senna to a three-year contract, which played a role in luring Honda. However, this began the rivalry that pushed two of the sport's greatest drivers to unprecedented heights of success and controversy. McLaren-Honda dominated the season, winning 15 out of 16 races. Prost won seven and outscored his new teammate Ayrton Sennaby 11 points, despite Senna winning one more race than Prost. However, only the 11 best results from the season counted toward the championship total, and this gave Senna the title by three points. Prost went on to be a proponent of essentially the 90's scoring system - all results counting to the final results with the winner scoring 10, not 9, points.
;1989McLaren's domination continued throughout 1989, and the Prost-Senna struggle for supremacy put them on a collision course. Mutual admiration turned to all-out hatred, with the Frenchman accusing his Brazilian teammate of "dangerous driving" [cite web | title = Hall of Fame - Alain Prost | url = http://www.formula1.com/teams_and_drivers/hall_of_fame/36/ | work = Formula1.com Paragraph 7 | accessdate = 2006-08-16 ] and of receiving more than a fair share of attention from both McLaren and Honda. Their embittered season ended as many pundits had feared. In the Japanese Grand Prix at the end of lap 46, Senna made his move at the
chicane. Prost turned into his teammate's path. The two interlocked McLarens slid up the chicane escape road. Prost, thinking the World Championship was over, climbed out of his car. To separate the cars, the marshals pushed Senna's McLaren backwards onto the track. This left it in a dangerous position, so they pushed it forwards again. As they did so, Senna bump-started the engine. He drove through the chicane and rejoined. The nose of his car was damaged and he had to pit, but he rejoined only five seconds behind Alessandro Nannini. On lap 50, Ayrton sliced past Nannini at the chicane to take the lead and won the race. But it was Nannini who appeared on the podium. Race officials had excluded Senna for missing the chicane. McLaren appealed the decision, but the FIA Court of Appeal not only upheld the decision but fined Senna US$100,000 and gave him a suspended six-month ban. [cite web | title = Grand Prix Results: Japanese GP, 1989 | url = http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr483.html | work = GrandPrix.com|accessdate = 2006-08-16 ] Thus Prost clinched his third driving title in controversial circumstances.
However, Prost had the firm belief that Honda and
Ron Dennisviewed Senna as the future of the team. By Suzuka, Prost recalled that he had one car with maybe four or five mechanics, while his teammate had two cars and 20 people around him. [ [http://www.prostfan.com/senna2.htm prostfan.com - Ayrton Senna by Alain Prost ] ] As a result, Prost announced on July 1989 that he would resign from McLaren and the Frenchman quickly joined his new employers: Ferrari.
;1990The Frenchman replaced
Gerhard Bergerat Ferrari and was partnered with Britain's Nigel Mansellfor 1990. As reigning world champion, Prost took over as the team's lead driver and was said to have played on Mansell's inferiority complex. Mansell recalls one incident where at the 1990 British Grand Prix, the car he drove didn't handle the same as in the previous race where had taken pole position, and later found out from team mechanics that Prost saw Mansell as having a superior car and had them swapped without Mansell knowing. [Mansell, Nigel "My Autobiography" page 222 Collins Willow ISBN 0-00-218497-4] Prost won five races for Ferrari that year, in Brazil, Mexico, France, Britain and Spain. Notable among these was the Mexican Grand Prix, where he won after starting in 13th position. In both the Mexican and Spanish races, he led Mansell to Ferrari 1-2 finishes. The championship once again came to the penultimate round of the season in Japan with Prost trailing his McLaren adversary, Ayrton Senna, by nine points. As in 1989, a controversial collision between the two settled the race. At the first corner Senna, as he later admitted, intentionally drove his race car into Prost's, taking them both out of the race and sealing the title in his favour. "What he did was disgusting," Prost said. "He is a man without value." Prost finished the season seven points behind Senna, and his Ferrari team were runners-up to McLaren.
;1991In 1991, Mansell left the Scuderia, due to his unstable relationship with Prost, [Murray Walker & Simon Taylor "Murray Walker's Formula One Heroes" p. 108, paragraph 2. Virgin Books, ISBN 1-85227-918-4] to join his previous employers, Williams. Mansell's replacement was Frenchman
Jean Alesi, who had been impressive during the previous two years at Tyrrell. Ferrari had entered a downturn, partially as their famous V12 engine was no longer competitive against the smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient V10s of their competitors. The Ferrari chassis, despite a major revision by the French Grand Prix (f-643) was also not up to the level of the Mclaren and the Williams models.Prost won no races, only getting onto the podium five times. He took it out on the Italian team, publicly criticising them (he famously described his car as handling worse than "a truck"), [cite book | title = Formula Ferrari | first = Umberto | last = Zapelloni | isbn = 0-340-83471-4 | publisher = Hodder & Stoughton| origmonth = April | origyear = 2004 | pages = p. 17] and was fired prior to the end of the season, right before the Australian Grand Prix. [Murray Walker & Simon Taylor, "Murray Walker's Formula One Heroes" p. 115, lines 6–9. Virgin Books, ISBN 1-85227-918-4] Prost was replaced by Italian Gianni Morbidelli.
Prost went onto a
sabbatical yearin 1992, [cite web | title = Hall of Fame — Alain Prost | url = http://www.formula1.com/teams_and_drivers/hall_of_fame/36/ | work = Formula1.com, paragraph 9|accessdate = 2006-08-16 ] which was dominated by Nigel Mansellin a Williams-Renault. After hearing that Prost would be his teammate again in 1993, Mansell left Williams to race in the CART series. The Frenchman had a clause in his contract which prevented rival Ayrton Sennafrom joining the team that year.Menard and Vassal (2003), p. 138.] Prost was part of a new-look driver line-up at Williams, with test driver Damon Hillcoming in to replace Riccardo Patrese, who had left to join Benetton.
Prost won his fourth, and final, title, but in a year where he was regularly challenged by teammate Hill, and
Ayrton Sennadriving an inferior McLaren. Shortly before the Portuguese Grand Prix in October 1993, Prost announced he would not defend his world title, as the clause in the Frenchman's contract did not extend to 1994 and Senna would be able to join Williams for the upcoming season , and instead opted to retire as the most successful driver in the sport's history [cite web | title = Grand Prix Results: Portuguese GP, 1993 | url = http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr546.html | publisher = GrandPrix.com | accessdate = 2006-11-07 ] — a record which stood for almost a decade. On the podium in Adelaide in 1993, Prost's last race, he and Senna embraced, and it was as if — now that Prost was no longer a rival — Senna saw no reason for any more hostility. Prost was surprised by the gesture. [cite web | title = Ayrton Senna by Alain Prost | url = http://www.prostfan.com/senna2.htm | work = ProstFan.com, paragraph 50|accessdate = 2006-10-12 ] Prost's performances earned him an OBE.
Michael Schumacherbroke Prost's record of 51 Grand Prix wins during the 2001 season. However, the Frenchman still holds the records for the most Grand Prix starts in turbo powered cars (126), and most wins at home Grand Prix (six at the French Grand Prix). He is also thus far the most recent Frenchman to win his home Grand Prix.
Rivalry with Ayrton Senna
Prost's battles with
Ayrton Sennawere particularly notable. The rivalry originated in 1988, when Senna joined Prost at the McLarenteam. The most notable event during the season between the two occurred during the Portuguese Grand Prix, where Senna tried to block Prost from taking the lead by forcing the Frenchman to run close to the pitwall; Prost managed to edge Senna outwards, taking the lead as they went into the first corner but he remained angered by the Brazilian's dangerous manœuvre. ["Grand Prix Results: [http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr465.html Portuguese GP, 1988] , GrandPrix.com. Retrieved 17 August 2006.]
The rivalry intensified after the
1989 San Marino Grand Prix, where the two drivers had an agreement that neither would get in each other's way to the first corner ("cf." 1982 San Marino Grand Prix). At the start, Senna got away in the lead and Prost followed him through the first corner without getting in Senna's way. Gerhard Berger's crash on lap four stopped the race. At the restart, it was Prost this time that got away the better of the two; but Senna forced his way past Prost in the first corner, breaking the pair's agreement at the start of the race, leaving the Frenchman furious with Senna. [cite book | first = Mark | last = Hughes | title = The Unofficial Complete Encyclopedia Of Formula One | pages = 72, lines 13–27 | publisher = Hermes House|id = ISBN 1-84309-864-4 ] Prost himself was angered by McLaren apparently favouring Senna, so he announced his signing with Ferrari during midseason.
The rivalry then reached its peak at the end of 1989, when the title was to be decided between Senna and Prost at Suzuka. The two McLarens collided at a chicane when Prost blocked an attempted pass by Senna. Prost walked away while Senna returned to the track by illegally cutting the chicane. Though he went on to win the race, the manœuvre meant that the result was disqualified. After an unsuccessful appeal by McLaren, the Brazilian received a further US$100,000 fine and a six month suspension, leading Senna to accuse FIA president
Jean-Marie Balestreof favoring the Frenchman. Senna's disqualification meant that it was mathematically impossible for him to overhaul Prost's points total, and so the 1989 Championship went to the Frenchman. There has been much debate as to whether Prost intentionally ran into Senna, whether Senna was overambitious in his overtaking manoeuver, or whether the collision was simply a racing incident between two team-mates who were far from matey. Prost admitted years later that he had knowingly not let Senna through despite Senna having the inside line at the chicane.
1990 saw the two drivers collide again. Senna led Prost, now in a Ferrari, in the world drivers' championship. Prost had qualified second for the penultimate race of the season in Suzuka, Japan, and Senna was on pole. Prior to the race Senna had complained that his side of the grid was dirty, meaning he would get less grip and therefore a slower start compared to Prost who was on the clean side of the grid. The Brazilian's appeal was rejected. [cite book | first = Mark | last = Hughes | title = The Unofficial Complete Encyclopedia Of Formula One | pages = 75, lines 8–17 | publisher = Hermes House | id = ISBN 1-84309-864-4 ] At the start of the race, Prost got the better start of the two; but whilst braking for the first corner, Senna rammed his McLaren into Prost's Ferrari at convert|160|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on, clinching the title for the Brazilian. [cite book | first = Mark | last = Hughes | title = The Unofficial Complete Encyclopedia of Formula One | pages = 75, lines 18–29 | publisher = Hermes House | id = ISBN 1-84309-864-4 ] Prost almost retired from the sport, saying "What he did was disgusting. He is a man without value." A year later, Senna admitted that the move was premeditated, in retaliation for Prost taking the two out of the race at the chicane on the same course the previous year when in a similar position. [ [http://www.grandprix.com/ft/ft00090.html Ayrton Senna attacks Jean-Marie Balestre] , GrandPrix.com. Retrieved 11 October 2006.]
There was one controversial incident in 1991, Prost's inferior Ferrari was unable to put up a challenge regularly to Senna's frontrunning McLaren. At the German Grand Prix Prost battled Senna for 4th place, however he felt Senna defended too aggresively and forced Prost to take avoiding action by using the escape road. Prost stalled his car rejoining the race. Ironically, Senna ran out of fuel on the last lap at the very same point. Prost angrily told the press following the race "I can no longer win the championship but if I catch him like that again I will push him out that is for sure!".
Senna laughed this off claiming Prost used a range of excuses to blame others for his misfortune, the two were summoned for clear the air talks at the next race in Hungary which ended with a very public handshake. Prost was given a one race suspended ban for his comments following the German Grand Prix.
The Frenchman took a sabbatical in 1992 while the Brazilian struggled as McLaren was no longer competitive with Williams. When Prost announced his signing with Williams for the upcoming 1993 season, Senna had wanted join that team too, even offering to drive for free as they were clearly the top team. However, Prost had a clause in his contract forbidding the Brazilian as a teammate, and an infuriated Senna called the Frenchman a coward during a press conference at Estoril.
During the 1993 season, Prost and Senna continued their on-track rivalry. Prost was escorted by police to the Interlagos circuit for the
1993 Brazilian Grand Prixdue to the hostility of Brazilians towards him. [cite book | first = Derick | last = Allsop | title = Designs on Victory: On the Grand Prix Trail With Benetton | publisher = Hutchinson|id = ISBN 0-09-178311-9 ] The two continued their on-track battles at Silverstone where Senna aggressively defended his position against Prost. As the clause in Prost's contract with Williams did not cover the upcoming 1994 season, which would allow Senna to join, the Frenchman retired with one year left on his contract rather than again partner his great rival. [cite web | title = Grand Prix Results: British GP, 1993 | url = http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr541.html | publisher = GrandPrix.com | accessdate = 2006-11-07 ]
On 1 May 1994, Ayrton Senna was killed at the San Marino Grand Prix. Prost was a
pallbearerat the Brazilian's funeral. [ [http://www.gpracing.net192.com/drivers/prost-senna.cfm Open Warfare] , GPRacing.net192.com. Retrieved 28 November 2006.] Speaking four years after the Brazilian's death, Prost told Nigel Roebuckthat he had "always refused to speak about him." When Senna died, Prost stated that "a part of himself had died also", because their careers had been so bound together. [ [http://www.prostfan.com/senna2.htm Ayrton Senna — By Alain Prost] , ProstFan.com. Paragraph 3. Retrieved 16 August 2006.]
Senna had also felt the same when Prost had retired at the end of 1993, when he admitted to a close friend that he had realised how much of his motivation had come from fighting with Prost. At Prost's last Grand Prix, the
1993 Australian Grand Prix, Senna pulled Prost up onto the top step of the podium for an embrace. [Fan review of Grand Prix with image of pair on podium. http://www.farzadsf1gallery.com/features/adel93.html. Retrieved January 28 2007.] Only a couple of days before his death, when filming an in-car lap of Imola for French television channel TF1, he greeted Prost, by then a pundit on the channel: "I'd like to welcome back my friend Alain — we all miss you…' Prost said that he was touched by that.cite book | last = Hamilton | first = Maurice | authorlink = | coauthors = | editor = | others = | title = Frank Williams | accessdate = | edition = | date = | publisher = Macmillan | location = | id = ISBN 0-333-71716-3 | pages = 234]
Comparison with team-mates
During the course of his career, season-by-season Prost beat nearly all his team-mates on total points, including five World Champions. The only exceptions were in 1984 when Niki Lauda won by half a point, and in Prost's first F1 season, when he was beaten by John Watson.
Prost uses a helmet design based on the three colours of the French flag, those being blue, white and red, along with his name along the side. During his early career however, Prost used a basic design of white all over with some blue detail around the visor. ["Grande Prěmio da Argentina de 1980" [http://www.lookweb.com.br/medaglia/f1/80/8001arg/8001arg.html LookWeb.com.br] . Retrieved 12 October 2006] During Prost's time at Renault, he used more blue details, most notably around the rear of his helmet. ["Picture: Alain Prost Renault F1" [http://www.flagworld.com/1978-79-80-81/1981_15AlainProstRenault2.jpgFlagworld.com] . Retrieved 12 October 2006] Prost kept the similar design for his second spell at McLaren, the only variant being the change in sponsor logos. Prost's helmet changed when he moved to Ferrari, as his helmet now had the blue detail around the front, surrounding the visor. ["Alain Prost Helmet" [http://www.jmjauto.com/New%20Photos%204-08-03/Prost%201990%20helmet.jpgJmJauto.com] . Retrieved 12 October 2006] The helmet design did not change when Prost moved to Williams; like his move from Renault to McLaren in 1984, the only change to his helmet was the change in sponsor logos.
The sponsors on Prost's helmet have been Boss, Canon, Elf,
Ferrari, Honda( Acuraat American Grands Prix), KicKers, Marlboro, Michelin, Moët, Segaand its character Sonic the Hedgehog, Segafredo Zanetti and Renault.
During 1994 and 1995, Prost worked as TV pundit for the French TV channel
TF1."Alain Prost Information - Alain's career year by year, 1973 - 2006" [http://www.prostfan.com/infos.htm ProstFan.com] . Retrieved 11 October 2006] He also worked for Renaultas a PR man. Prost went back to his old team McLaren, working as a technical advisor; he also competed in the L'Etape du Tour, which is a bicycle race held in France. More than 5000 other riders took part; Prost himself finished 12th in his category, 42nd overall.
Prost Grand Prix
During 1989 Prost began to contemplate starting his own team, as his relationship with his McLaren teammate, Ayrton Senna, had turned sour. Prost and
John Barnard, formerly chief designer at McLaren, came close to founding a team in 1990; but a lack of sponsorship meant that this was not possible, so Prost moved to Ferrari. After falling out with the Italian team at the end of 1991, Prost found himself without a drive for 1992; after the failure of extensive negotiations with Guy Ligierabout buying his Ligierteam, Prost decided to join Williams for 1993."Team Prost - a dream or reality?" [http://www.grandprix.com/ft/ft00198.html GrandPrix.com] . Retrieved 12 October 2006] In 1995, when Prost was working for Renault, people began to assume that a Prost-Renault team would be formed in the near future. Renault refused Prost's request to supply engines for his team, ending the speculation.On 13 February 1997, Prost bought the Ligier team from Flavio Briatoreand renamed it "Prost Grand Prix"."GrandPrix.com > GP Encyclopedia > Constructor > Prost Grand Prix [http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/con-prost.html GrandPrix.com] . Retrieved September 8 2006] The day after he bought the team, Prost signed a three-year deal with French car manufacturer Peugeot, who would supply the team with engines for the 1998 season through the 2000 season. For the team's first season, Prost kept one of Ligier's 1996 drivers, Olivier Panis, who had won the Monaco Grand Prix the previous year; Japanese driver Shinji Nakanowas signed to partner Panis. The team raced with the Mugen-Hondaengines used by Ligier the previous season. Things looked promising at the start of the season, as the team picked up two points on its Grand Prix debut in Australia when Olivier Panis finished fifth. The team scored a further 13 points before Panis broke his leg in an accident during the Canadian Grand Prix. He was replaced by Minardi's Jarno Trulli. From there, things started to go downhill slightly, the team scored only five points during Panis' recovery. The Frenchman came back at the end of the season to race the final three Grand Prix. Prost GP finished sixth in the constructors' championship in its first season, with 21 points.
Prost became the president of Prost Grand Prix at the start of 1998. With Peugeot supplying the engines for Prost GP, Mugen-Honda decided to supply the Jordan team. Prost GP scored a single point during the season, Jarno Trulli finishing sixth in Belgium.
1999 was a crucial year for Prost GP. [Jean-Michel Desnoues; Patrick Camus & Jean-Marc Loubat Formula 1 99 . Queen Anne Press. ISBN 1-85291-606-0] Prost hired
John Barnardas a technical consultant, Barnard's B3 Technologies company helping Loic Bigois and the design of the AP02. Panis and Trulli agreed to stay on with the team for the season. While the car did not prove to be a major concern, the Peugeot engine proved to be heavy and unreliable.
Peugeot's final year as Prost's engine supplier in 2000 saw some optimism, Prost hiring his 1991 Ferrari team mate
Jean Alesito drive the lead car and German Nick Heidfeld, who had won the 1999 Formula 3000championship, to partner him. The season proved to be yet another disastrous one, with newly hired technical director Alan Jenkins fired midway through the year. Prost restructured the team, hiring Joan Villadelprat as the managing director and replacing Jenkins with Henri Durand as the team's new technical director.
2001 saw some much needed optimism for the team as
Ferrariagreed to be the team's engine supplier for the season, the team now moving in the right direction. But the money ran out at the start of the 2002 season and Prost was out of business, leaving debts of around $30 million.
After Prost Grand Prix
During 2002, Prost spent time with his family and competed in eight bicycle races, finishing third in the "Granite – Mont Lozère". [ [http://www.prostfan.com/2002.htm Alain Prost 2002 Bicycle Racing] , ProstFan.com. Retrieved 11 October 2006.] The Frenchman raced in the Andros ice race series in 2003, finishing second in the championship behind
Yvan Muller;"Trophée Andros Championship Standings", [http://www.prostfan.com/andros03.htm p. 3] . ProstFan.com. Retrieved 11 October 2006.] he also became an Ambassador for Uniroyal, a position he would keep until May 2006.
Prost continued to compete in the Andros Trophy, winning the title with Toyota in 2006/07 and 2007/08. ["Trophée Andros Championship Standings", [http://www.prostfan.com/andros04.htm, p. 4] . ProstFan.com, retrieved 11 October 2006.] "Trophée Andros Championship Standings", [http://www.prostfan.com/andros05.htm p. 5] . ProstFan.com, retrieved 11 October 2006.] [ [http://www.prostfan.com/20062007.htm Trophée Andros] , ProstFan.com. Retrieved 11 October 2006.]
Complete Formula One results
() (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in "italics" indicate fastest lap)
*Alan Henry, "Alain Prost (Champion Series)" ISBN 0-946132-30-5
*Pierre Ménard, "Alain Prost: The Science of Racing (Formula 1 Legends S.)" ISBN 2-84707-062-1
ReferencesAll Formula One race and championship results are taken from:
* [http://Formula1.com Official Formula One website] , [http://www.formula1.com/results/driver/1980/36.html Results for 1980–93 seasons] . Retrieved 16 August 2006.
* [http://Formula1.com Official Formula One website] , [http://www.formula1.com/results/team/1997/2028.html Results for 1997–2001 seasons] . Retrieved 17 August 2006.
* [http://www.prostfan.com/ Alain Prost] - fan page: interviews, photos, statistics, regularly updated
* [http://www.ddavid.com/formula1/prost_bio.htm Grand Prix History - Hall of Fame]
* [http://www.4mula1.ro/history/driver/Alain_Prost Alain Prost statistics]
* [http://www.karting1.co.uk/senna-kart/ Prost vs Senna on Karts video] - Footage from 1993 Paris Bercy Karting Event
* [http://www.classicf1videos.com/alain-prost-videos/ Alain Prost Videos] - courtesy of Classic F1 Videos
NAME=Prost, Alain Marie Pascal
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Retired French Formula One Driver
DATE OF BIRTH=24 February 1955
PLACE OF BIRTH=Saint-Chamond, France
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