Alain Prost

Mark Webber went mountain road cycling (Ohhh Noooo! LOL) with Alain Prost during the summer break. Here are some vignettes from the Aussie's BBC column:

The highlight of my break was cycling up the famous Alpe d'Huez Tour de France stage with four-time F1 world champion Alain Prost for a feature in the 22 September issue of F1 Racing magazine.

The two of us also cycled up another Col on our own before we did the main ride, and it was great to spend some time with Alain and chat on the ride as well as over dinner the night before.

The other times I've met him have been at functions ... but this was different.

He is 56 now, but still in phenomenal shape - I think he's a kilo lighter than when he was racing.

It's a beautiful part of the world, great weather, and it was great to talk about bikes, about his racing days, and F1 at the moment.

I used to follow him in my teenage days and enjoyed all his great battles with Ayrton Senna. I told him how disappointed I was that he didn't race in the 1991 Adelaide Grand Prix. I drove over there from New South Wales with my dad, who was a massive Prost fan, but he had been fired by Ferrari after the previous race, so we didn't get to see him.
 

Viscount

Pole Sitter
Contributor
Recently came across this old interview with Prost about Senna, it's pretty good.

http://www.prostfan.com/senna2.htm

Here's part of it:
Alain Prost said:
"For '89, though, I was worried about Honda. And I think my biggest problem was that I never had the relationship with them that Ayrton did. From the beginning, it was something I never felt I had under control. I wouldn't have cared very much if they'd simply preferred one driver in the team - but the way they handled the situation was very difficult for me, because Senna and I had very different driving styles."

"I never understood why Honda took his side so much. It wasn't that I thought it was a question of the Brazilian sales marked or the French market, or anything like that. It was more a human thing. I worked with Honda again last year - now as a team owner - and it struck me again: I think the Japanese just work differently. In a team, they always favour someone over the rest. I've heard it said about their motorcycle teams as well."

"Let me give you an example. At one point in '88, the last year we were allowed to run turbos, I asked for some specific changes to the engine to suit my driving style and we worked on it for two days at Paul Ricard. At the end of that test I was very happy - but at the next race, one week later, they never put that strategy on my engine."

"Then we went to the French Grand Prix - at Ricard - and suddenly the engine was just as I had wanted! You understand what I'm saying? Ayrton and I raced for two seasons together in the McLaren-Hondas, and at both the French Grands Prix I was on pole position and won the race. Everyone said, 'Oh look, it's Prost in front of his home crowd', and that sort of thing. It was nothing like that; it was just that at those races I had something which enabled me to fight..."

"Understand me, this is nothing against Ayrton, OK? Ayrton was very quick, and in qualifying he was much better than me - much more committed, just as I think I was when I was the younger driver in the team, against Niki (Lauda)."

"Anyway, before the 1989 season I had dinner at the golf club in Geneva with Honda's then chairman, Mr Kawamoto and four other people. And he admitted that I was right in believing that Honda was more for Ayrton than for me."

"He said, 'You want to know why we push Senna so much? Well, I can't be 100 per cent sure.' But one thing he did let me know was that the new generation of engineers working on the engines were in favour of Ayrton, because he was more the samurai, and I was more the computer."

"So, that was an explanation, and I was very happy afterwards, because then at least I knew very well that something was not correct. Part of my problem had been that Ayrton was so bloody quick, it wasn't easy to know how much was that, and how much was Honda helping him. So after this dinner with Mr Kawamoto, I thought, 'Well, at least I'm not stupid - something really was going on, and now I know the situation.'"
 

Olivier

Race Winner
It's almost impossible to talk about Prost without mentioning Senna or the other way around. Prost race style was a little bit deceptive and when looking at him race one would think he was not all that fast but then he would set the fastest lap. It's interesting that according to the note Japanese considered Prost a computer. I think Lauda was also regarded as a computer and Prost most likely picked up some of that from him.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Did anyone see Steve Rider's interview with Prost at Goodwood? Have a look on the ITV Player if you haven't. Apart from talking about his incredible career as a driver they touched on the Senna movie and Prost expressed his displeasure at the way he was portrayed in the film. I couldn't help but agree, especially as I heard an interview with the director of the film on 5 Live who said they tried to be "objective and balanced" and not set anyone up as the villain. Sorry to say you failed miserably mate.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
teabagyokel

You have to blame the scoring systems for this where it only allowed 11 out of 16 races to determine world champion

Senna thrashed Prost in quali ... which Alain admitted he had to give up and simply concentrate on race set up

Senna became Prost as Prost became Lauda when they paired up. Senna simply wanted to do everything at greater intensity to beat Prost and drove Prost insane

Senna proved not only was he faster but he was politically better than Prost to drive him out of Mclaren

Prost admitted 1989 was his worst season in F1 despite becoming world champion

and also if Senna wants to die for the world championship he would give it to him

Monaco 1988 springs to mind how Senna outqualified Prost by 1.4 seconds which was unheard of

Prost's legacy would have been greater were it not for Senna
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Monaco 1988 springs to mind how Senna outqualified Prost by 1.4 seconds which was unheard of
Who won that race?

Prost's legacy would have been greater were it not for Senna
... and the fact that people are so readily willing to ignore the fact that over two years as team-mates, Prost scored 32 points more than Senna did.

The amount of points scored is the measure of an F1 driver, is it not? That's how they tot up the scores at the end of the season. But when Senna's involved, we suddenly want to measure it on poles, wins (ie. a medal system - pooh-poohed when Bernie suggested it), driving style, whether or not Ron Dennis liked him or the yellowness of his helmet.

Prost admitted 1989 was his worst season in F1 despite becoming world champion
So in Alain Prost's worst season, despite being the unfavoured son to his team-principal, he beat Ayrton Senna to win the World Championship in the same car by 16 points over his best 11 races and 21 points over the lot?

With bad years like that...
 

Irishgreen

Banned
People who compare Prost and Senna in the "Who was better category" are barking up the wrong tree.
For me, Senna was the G.O.A.T. because it was, all duck or no dinner. That's not to say that I didn't think Prost was a class driver, he just went about his job in a different way. I.M.H.O.:)
 

Viscount

Pole Sitter
Contributor
teabagyokel Here's something to think about though, Senna became the 1988 world champion despite Prost scoring more points throughout the entire season than Senna (105 points to Senna's 94). However due to the rules at the time where only the best 11 results out of the 16 races counted towards the final championship standings Senna won the title due to his greater proportion of wins (8 to Prost's 7).

So who was the better driver that season? The points say Prost, the wins & the title which is the main goal says Senna.
 

Viscount

Pole Sitter
Contributor
teabagyokel I agree with you there. It's just they were both great drivers in such different ways that people will always compare them differently.

Senna may have won '88 but Prost's consistent high-level of driving was pretty amazing, he finished top 2 every single race that year apart from 2 races and out of those 2, 1 was a mechanical retirement the other questionable.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
teabagyokel

Monaco 1988

Quali I think people were stunned to see Senna go so much faster than Prost in the same car which was unheard of

the race ; It was a puncture that was the reason for his retirement not a mistake as it was lead to believe

--------------------------

Stats - yes apart from wins and poles Prost was more consistent because Senna had more of the unreliability woes but that probably had to do with his more intense driving style as well

- although some would say Honda gave Senna the more powerful engines

----------

" This is my worst season in F1"

- yep Prost said that having to fight Senna at an intense level which even he knew was not worth risking - on the track and politically hence the comment

" If Senna wants to die for the world title he can have it "
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
the race ; It was a puncture that was the reason for his retirement not a mistake as it was lead to believe

-------------------------------------------------

Blimey. The things you learn.... never ever heard that one before.
Not even from Senna when he talked about the incident...
 

tooncheese

Hans Heyer
Contributor
I remember that a marshal stood on his rear left tyre and it was completely flat, but it was impossible to tell if the impact caused it.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
Il_leone,

When you make a claim such as this (the tyre puncture at Monaco), which nobody else has EVER heard, please provide the source of this knowledge, so the claim has something to back it up. Otherwise, eveyone will think such a claim is pure ba_loney.

thanks
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
siffert_fan

It has been belated posted on ITV and BBC that Senna did indeed have a puncture not a mistake when he crushed on Monaco.

Senna not to blame for Monaco '88
Sunday, 21, May, 2006, 16:00
McLaren chief mechanic Neil Trundle has shed new light on one of the most notorious upsets in Formula 1 history.
In an interview in this month's F1 Racing magazine (on sale next week), Trundle revealed that Ayrton Senna's famous crash in the 1988 Monaco Grand Prix was probably the result of a slow puncture rather than a driver error.
Senna had absolutely dominated the Monaco weekend and was heading for a certain victory when he understeered into the Portier barrier with just 11 laps remaining.
The legendary Brazilian was distraught afterwards, but Trundle reckons he was not actually to blame.
"We still suspect he had a slow puncture in one of the rear tyres," Trundle revealed.
"The car was sliding around, but he stuck with it rather than changing the tyre."
The Monaco accident has been cited as a turning point in Senna's career, and Trundle agrees that it had a profound effect on the thoughtful Brazilian.
"The accident changed him," said Trundle.
"It made him even deeper and more committed."
 

Bill Boddy

Professional layabout
Contributor
If Senna had a slow puncture and was aware of it then it was up to him as to what he did. He chose not to pit for a change so the accident is down to him imo.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Don't we have a Senna versus Prost thread? If not, would people like one? Not sure what it would achieve though.
 
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