ALAIN PROST: A TRue GReAT
FIRST YOU MUST BEAT YOUR TEAMMATE…
…and didn’t Prost do well on that? Aside from his debut season,
where he missed races, and ’ 84, when he lost out by half a
point, none of his teammates outscored him…even when the
point system ultimately worked against him, as it did in ’ 88.
The talent pool...
In ’ 84, John Barnard
Niki Lauda and
Alain Prost; they
won 75 percent of
the races with it.
6 JOHN WATSON
11 RENÉ ARNOUX
28 RENÉ ARNOUX
22 EDDIE CHEEVER
72 NIKI LAUDA
76 ( 73)
14 NIKI LAUDA
74 ( 72)
22 KEKE ROSBERG
105 ( 87)
94 ( 90) AYRTON SENNA
81 ( 76)
60 AYRTON SENNA
73 ( 71)
37 NIGEL MANSELL
21 JEAN ALESI
his tires and car, knowing when he could
push, knowing when he shouldn’t.”
Nevertheless, even Prost could do little
about the Williams-Hondas in ’ 87, despite
three wins that edged him past Jackie
stewart’s record for career F1 victories.
but at Monza that year, Mclaren
confirmed it was switching to Honda
power for 1988, and that ayrton senna
would be coming on board – not just with
Prost’s blessing, but at his insistence.
“i told Ron, if we wanted to be the best,
* Drivers could only count their best 11 scores from (usually) 16 races.
Senna’s 8-7 edge in wins was the deciding factor in the 1988 title.
** Prost didn’t complete the season. At Suzuka, he compared his car
to a truck, and was fired. Gianni Morbidelli subbed for him in the finale.
we needed to take the best, the strongest,
the guy who’s the future,” says Prost.
“that was ayrton. it would have been
easier for me to take Nelson Piquet, but…”
it was the start of an extraordinary
chapter in Prost’s career. He was 32 and at
the top of his game, but he soon realized
his new teammate was not only fast, but
also a relentless worker. and, like most top
drivers, senna was adept at building strong
relationships with a team’s key players.
the MP4/4 of 1988 was so good that
Prost and senna completely dominated,
winning all but one of the races and making
the title battle an in-house affair between
the Frenchman and the brazilian, who in
three seasons at lotus had nailed 16 pole
positions, but claimed only six wins.
Prost won seven GPs in ’ 88, finished
second to senna seven times, and ended
with more points than ayrton. However, a
strange scoring system that counted only
a driver’s best 11 results meant senna’s
eight wins gave him the advantage in the
championship battle and he clinched the
crown with one race to go. the fact that
Prost took only two poles to senna’s 13
confirmed senna had a clear edge on
qualifying pace, but on race pace they
were evenly matched unless it rained, when
senna had the measure of everyone.
“They’d all wreck their tires
and about halfway through
the race, alain would be in
front and disappearing…”