Alain Prost

Incubus

Champion Elect
Damon was only second to Prost on two occasions, and beat him at Monaco...
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I think that one is stretching it.... Prost would have been on course for a comfortable win had he not been found to have got off the grid a fraction earlier than should have (couldn't really tell with the naked eye), cue penalty aggravated by two successive stalls on the pit-lane and rejoining a lap behind.

It was a bit of a strange year for him, with definite signs of rustiness after his year off. For some reason he seemed to have persitant problems with the clutch action, giving himself a lot of extra work at pretty much every race.
Having started on pole 13 out of 16 times he only reached the first corner in the lead a couple of times in the year, usually ending up somewhere around fourth on the first lap, and several stalls during the season.
 
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RasputinLives

Not dead
Contributor
I think his reputation was more damaged by the season in than it was enhanced. I remember being massively dissapointed in a driver I'd cheered on in 1990.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
Well, would you say Schumie was the same driver when he returned?

Lauda and Kimi did well when they returned in F1 but the major difference was that they were around 30 when they came back whereas Prost and Schumie were around 40...
 

RasputinLives

Not dead
Contributor
Indeed - I did an article about drivers 'second' careers a while back and the conclusion was that it did them all more harm than good. It was a top 5 list and Prost was on it. Alan Jones and Nigel Mansell are big offenders too.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
I remember when the late great Rob Walker was writing for Road and Track magazine, he stated that, even though Prost and Senna weren't exactly best friends, Senna would always ask Prost how to fix the handling problems on his car and Prost would tell him.

Can you imagine that even among today's drivers? But it also means that, to some degree, Senna's titles, while teamed with Prost, were, to some degree, due to Prost.
That's not reflected in Peter Warr's book on his time at Lotus where he taks about Senna's astonishing ability to read a car and to produce feedback that almost exactly replicated the information generated by the early telemetry feeds they were using. Warr says that the Honda engineers in 87 absolutely loved working with Senna as he could fill in all the missing details about engine performance. He quotes one time when Senna put in a lap that was good enough for the top spot, Senna came back into the pits, sat there for a while and then announced to the team he'd worked out where he could go faster. Warr said why bother as he was nailed on for the top spot anyway but Senna insisted, went out and produced a faster lap exactly to the time (can't remember what it was) he said he would.

Now it hardly seems to me that this is the guy who would then move to McLaren and have to ask Prost how to solve handling problems with his car?
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
C_A_T

You will have to let Walker and Warr fight that one out. For me,the difference is that Mr. Walker's account was written as the season was in progress, while Mr. Warr's was written 20 years after Senna was granted sainthood.

Going by my own experiences, I don't believe that 20 year old memories are as accurate as we may like to believe. At least that is the case for me.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
I think we're talking about different things here.

Engines were Senna's thing. His ability to "feel" and instantly identify the more subtle changes in engine behaviour is something that was noted from the start of his Lotus days and there's a whole section on it in Autocourse's 1985 season review. The quote "no need for telemetry with him!" came from Peter Warr in that same article in 1985.

Prost's thing was more about chassis and his set-up abilities were seen as the best on the grid after Lauda retired. According to C Hilton's Senna V Prost book that was something Ayrton had no problem admitting to.

Or at least "Alain is so much better at testing" was the reason he gave for going awol to Brazil during winter months in the 1988-89 period... ;)
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Prost bought the 1993 title according to Mansell and he did make a lot of amateurish errors which he would not have done in previous years and he was made to fight for the title by Senna early into the season

Prost dictated who his teammate was for 1993...he managed to do things in secrecy with Williams for 1993 ..Mansell felt he was kept in the dark even though the French media reported he had already signed by May. Brundle was tipped to drive for Williams and then the deal fell through somehow before finally Hill was given the nod

Williams were blasted for making Hill move over for Prost at the French Grand Prix even though he scored a well deserved pole and they had to come back and say they will allow them to race
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
On cider_and_toast's recommendation I've just read Beyond the Limit. His comments about Mansell are priceless. Prost destroyed him at Ferrari, both on and off the track, and would have done the same at Williams if they had raced together there.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
Much like some of the conversations in the Vettel thread, let's not lose sight of the fact he won the world championship. Hill surprised many people that season and showed he could perform at the highest level but at the end of the day, is anyone seriously shocked that Prost was team leader?

Prost was never the kind of racer who would win by 20 seconds if 2 seconds was enough hence he was never seen to have that "edge" that Senna had. You can talk about his 93 season all you like but the fact of the matter is, he became a four time world champion.

Our Nige ran away to America at the first sign of a challenge to his position at Williams so he's hardly going to say Prost did a great job.
 
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cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
Are you talking about the Peter Warr book FB?

Edit, ah, I think you're on about the Sid Watkins one.
 
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siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
Well, would you say Schumie was the same driver when he returned?

Lauda and Kimi did well when they returned in F1 but the major difference was that they were around 30 when they came back whereas Prost and Schumie were around 40...
The other difference being that Schumacher and Jones both went to new teams, whereas the others went to established ones.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
siffert_fan Mansell did not handle the situation well I agree when he realised he would lose No 1 status at Williams having learnt what Prost did to him at Ferrari he was not going to let history repeat itself at Williams

still judging by how Prost struggled in 93 he should have stayed because he was pretty much the People's champion . It was a strange season without Mansell. I think Prost would have had a lot more questions to face as well in coping with Senna and Schumacher
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
I know invariably mentioning Prost will always go hand in hand with Senna. People were astonished just how fast Senna seems and questions were raised that one was given more powerful engines than the other to the point even Balestre had to stick his nose into it.

On telemetry analysis ...Senna was simply somehow finding out a way of using the power more whereas Prost was more smooth and economical. Senna's main focus was to make sure he was able to carry more speed onto long straights and therefore get on the throttle early
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
Blimey, doesn't half make me feel my own age... It seems like only yesterday that I was growing up watching the Prost Mansell Piquet and Senna wars.

Where's all the time gone?....
 
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