Alain Prost

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Alain Marie Pascal Prost OBE, Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur, is always mentioned whenever a list of the greatest F1 drivers is written. 4 times a World Champion, 51 Grand Prix wins, Alain pitted himself against some of the best drivers ever to race in F1, often in the same team - Senna, Lauda, Mansell, Rosberg, van de Poele, Schumacher.

Known as the "Professor" Prost started his F1 career at McLaren in 1980, moving on to the French national team, Renault, in 1981 Prost came close to winning the title but had to return to McLaren to fulfil his ambition to be World Champion, taking his first title in 1985.

Prost's career is often defined by his rivalry with Ayrton Senna but Prost the driver and Prost the man was far more than just Senna's great rival. At a time of Super Heavyweights in F1, despite being the size of a jockey Prost threw a driving punch to rival Mike Tyson in his prime. He drove for F1's greatest teams and won titles for all of them.

Alain Prost, The Professor, the best of them all?
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
IF you are talking from 1982 - 1987 he was the best driver then in an era where his style being smooth and economical complimented the fuel gushing turbos and his ability to win races by timing his race pace tactically by being consistently fast and strong towards the end of the race was the reason why he averages 4pts per race which means 3rd place every time under old scores

Obviously his reputation is based on more his battles with Senna rather than his steal from Mansell in 1986 or his 0.5pt loss in 1984 along with record breaking wins

Other unknown records or less talked about records

He is the only driver to win world championships with either car No 1 and car No 2
He is the only driver to win with car No 2

He is the only driver to win world championships when his teammate was the reigning world champion ( 1985 and 1989)

In winning his world titles 3 of them were when his teammate was a world champion ( Rosberg, LAuda and Senna) and the other a future world champion ( Hill)

So this puts a bit more light in PRost being greater but overshadowed by Senna somewhat
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
To me, Prost's abilities are best summed up by quotes from Rosberg and Frank Williams.

Rosberg said that every driver in F1 thought they had the talent to be WDC until they teamed up with Prost and saw how talented he was.

In a Road and Track interview, Frank was rating all of the drivers that had driven for him. His assessment of Prost: he had an even greater skill set than Senna. The problem was that Prost only drove fast enough to win, so some people under-rate him.

The quote I like best is from Prost himself. At the Watkins Glen golf tourney which accompanied the GP, someone asked Prost what his handicap was. His reply: "with my height and this nose, you wonder what my handicap is?". In the ego-filled world of F1, I found that self-effacement very refreshing.
 
... Alain pitted himself against some of the best drivers ever to race in F1, often in the same team - Senna, Lauda, Mansell, Rosberg, van de Poele, Schumacher
Alain had the mightiest in-team opposition which cost him titles (1982/Arnoux, 1984/Lauda, 1988/Senna, 1990/Mansell) but he didn't partner Schumacher.

Prost was partnered with Hill. It was Piquet who was paired up with Schumacher at Benetton.

Cheers

He drove for F1's greatest teams and won titles for all of them.

Alain Prost, The Professor, the best of them all?
Well, he won titles for McLaren and Williams but he didn't win for Renault or Ferrari. He came close with Renault, especially in 1983...and he came close with Ferrari and blamed 'idiot' teammate Mansell for spoiling his and the Scuderia's chances in 1990...although Senna made damn sure of it by piling into the back of him into Turn 1 at Suzuka.

The greatest of them all?

I don't think so. I don't think there is such a thing. Close, though.

I do think that in his 'prime' he was just as good as Senna in his 'prime' but in a different way.

I would have to put the two up there with Clark and Fangio as the 4 Greatest since 1950. I've heard a lot about Nuvolari...but i'm going from 1950 to now. I'd put Schumacher 5th greatest All Time.
 
Rosberg said that every driver in F1 thought they had the talent to be WDC until they teamed up with Prost and saw how talented he was.

In a Road and Track interview, Frank was rating all of the drivers that had driven for him. His assessment of Prost: he had an even greater skill set than Senna. The problem was that Prost only drove fast enough to win, so some people under-rate him.
I think Prost was changed by what happened to his two close French-speaking driver friends in 1982. Villeneuve and Pironi. Villeneuve was killed in May in Belgium and then Pironi had his legs crushed and career ended when he hit the back of Prost's car at Hockenheim just over 3 months later.

I think from then on he decided not to take the ultimate risk that Senna was prepared to take and learned how to win a Championship economically from Lauda who pipped him to the title by 0.5 of a point in 1984.

As an aside - and speaking of Keke Rosberg - when Keke signed for McLaren to replace the re-retiring Lauda for 1986, I really thought that the Finn would account well for himself.

Well, Prost totally dismantled Keke in 1986 and sent him off into retirement. I think, to be fair, Keke had a significantly different style which worked the tyres on that specific McLaren chassis much harder in relation to Prost's smoother style.

People now talk of Jenson's "smooth" style. Well, Prost and Stewart wrote the book on it, frankly.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
I do think that in his 'prime' he was just as good as Senna in his 'prime' but in a different way.
It would be fantastic if they had a couple of seasons together in their 'primes' to compare. Oh wait they did.

So there were two years they were together and the titles were shared. Senna had 14 victories to Prost's 11, and 26 poles to Prost's 4.

There is one problem though. In 1988, the McLaren was too good for a fair comparison to be made in the Drivers Championship. Before 1988, no-one had dropped a second place finish since Gilles Villeneuve in 1979 (under a half and half rule). Prost, who finished first or second every time he finished, was forced to discount three second placed finishes!

Thus in terms of real points scored it stood at [bg=#6666FF]105[/bg]-[bg=#FFFF00]94[/bg] and in terms of points that counted to the Championship it was [bg=#6666FF]87[/bg]-[bg=#FFFF00]90[/bg].

So Prost scored most points in both years, and in the two years they were together won by [bg=#6666FF]186[/bg]-[bg=#FFFF00]154[/bg].

That is conclusive. Prost wins.
 
It would be fantastic if they had a couple of seasons together in their 'primes' to compare. Oh wait they did.
:) Well, I don't know if Senna was in his 'prime' in 1988/89. Senna was blindingly fast...but he had A LOT to learn about bringing the car home. 1993 was, arguably, Senna's best season. His 10th.

Also, I honestly think Prost was just past his absolute prime in 1989.

What would I give to have the Prost of 1982-87 paired up with the Senna of 1990-93!

These are merely opinions of course.
 

RasputinLives

Not dead
Contributor
Prost is always a sticky point for me. I feel sorry for him a little as I see him as the Paul McCartney of the F1 world. Unfourtunatly for Paul when John Lennon was shot he became a demi-god and a saint and everything he did musically was pure genius. Poor old Paul who had written stuff just as good, if not better, then gets relegated to position of 'the other one'. Same thing happen to Alain on Senna's death - history readjusted itself to create the church of Senna and Prost was cast as 'Senna's rival'

I first started watching F1 in 1990 and it was Prost I was cheering on in the vain hope he could take that dodgy old Ferrari to the title. You may notice I came in late with the whole Prost thing so my judgement of his greater years only comes from VHS re-runs and various books. 1990 to me was his last great season. In 1991 he let me down with an appauling attitude at Ferrari the following year. He even further blotted his copy book for me by returning in 1993 when he was clearly past his best just to fufil Renaults dream of a french world champion with french engines. Damon Hill him nursemaided round to the title in an unbeatable car and it was obvious that Prosts nereve had gone when it came to the sport. By this point my support had switched to Senna - cheering him on in an impossible lousy Mclaren and despite leading the championship after 3 rounds he really never stood a chance. He succeded in showing Prost up at Donnington though which I don't think will ever be forgotten.

So a tainted 4 times world champion for me - but a top class 3 times world champion.

I pointed out in the Mansell thread that Nigel never had a team-mate who hadn't at least won 1 Grand Prix. Prost had 2 that never did(Cheever and Johansson) and one that didn't until years after (Alesi) but the quality of his team-mates is no less impressive:

John Watson
Rene Arnoux
Eddie Cheever
Niki Lauda
Keke Rosberg
Stefan Johansson
Ayrton Senna
Nigel Mansell
Jean Alesi
Damon Hill
 
That is conclusive. Prost wins.
How is that conclusive? Senna was faster and won more Grand Prix races...but wasn't as consistent...wasn't as "mature".

Prost was much more methodical - he used Qually for race set ups - but he was the slower of the two by that time and knew it. Good for him that McLaren had a big gap over the 2nd fastest cars which allowed him the luxury of sacrificing ultimate qually pace.

It was basically even-stevens over 2 years. Points scored one year have no relation to other years. It's a shame that points were discarded due to the system. Villeneuve would have been Champion in 1979 for Ferrari had the system not been perverted.
 
In terms of race pace, I think Prost's absolute peak was within the 1983-86 period.
I agree. In terms of pure raw pace. Yes.

I think his 1986 achievement was great...but, for me, his greater achievement was winning a title against Senna and only loosing the other on system.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Alain had the mightiest in-team opposition which cost him titles (1982/Arnoux, 1984/Lauda, 1988/Senna, 1990/Mansell) but he didn't partner Schumacher.

Prost was partnered with Hill. It was Piquet who was paired up with Schumacher at Benetton.
Hence the caviate, often in the same team. I also realised after I wrote this that Alain didn't win a title for Ferrari so my bad :embarrassed: I'm not going to include Renault as one of F1's great teams as they have no continuity.

One question for you all, in my list of "greats" Prost pitted himself against did anyone spot the deliferate mistale?
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
It was basically even-stevens over 2 years. Points scored one year have no relation to other years. It's a shame that points were discarded due to the system. Villeneuve would have been Champion in 1979 for Ferrari had the system not been perverted.
Firstly he wouldn't. Scheckter scored more points overall.

How is that conclusive? Senna was faster and won more Grand Prix races...but wasn't as consistent...wasn't as "mature".

Prost was much more methodical - he used Qually for race set ups - but he was the slower of the two by that time and knew it. Good for him that McLaren had a big gap over the 2nd fastest cars which allowed him the luxury of sacrificing ultimate qually pace.
No, Senna was not as consistent. By 1993 he was hardly a pin-up boy for consistency, and don't forget he failed due to driver error in the first two races of 1994.

I only care about points. He finished second in every race that Senna won in 1988. He didn't retire through driver error at any point all season. He didn't bin it when 40 seconds clear of the field at Monaco, for example.

Consistency is impressive. Its the difference between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, or between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. So, in my book, Prost takes it by a significant margin because nothing matters bar points, and the idea of dropping points is anathema to me.
 
I only care about points...Consistency is impressive... So, in my book, Prost takes it by a significant margin because nothing matters bar points, and the idea of dropping points is anathema to me.
Ok. It's certainly a point of view.

I prefer Poles and Wins...but, hey, we're all different.
 
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