Prost, Alain PDF Print E-mail

Alain Prost (Alain Marie Pascal Prost)


  
Nation: France
DOB: 1955-02-25
Place:Saint Chamond
  
Grand Prix entered:202
Poles:33
World Championships: 4 (1993, 1989, 1986, 1985)
Podiums: 106
Wins: 51
Fastest laps41
Points: 798.50
First Race:1980-01-13 Buenos Aires, McLaren
Last Race:1993-11-07 Adelaide, Williams
  
YearTeam 
    
1993 Williams 
1991 Ferrari 
1990 Ferrari 
1989 McLaren 
1988 McLaren 
1987 McLaren 
1986 McLaren 
1985 McLaren 
1984 McLaren 
1983 Renault 
1982 Renault 
1981 Renault 
1980 McLaren 

Alain Marie Pascal Prost, (born February 24, 1955 in Saint-Chamond, Loire, France), simply known as Alain Prost, is a French racing driver. Amongst the Formula One World Champions he is one of the most successful with 4 World Titles, and only Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio have won more.

Formula 1
Prost was the F1 World Champion in 1985, 1986, 1989, and 1993, and runner-up in 1983, 1984, 1988 and 1990. He competed in 199 Grands Prix, 51 of which he won, and accumulated through his career 798.5 championship points. Prost also completed 41 fastest laps, and a record six home Grand Prix wins.

Alain Prost wins the 1981 Argentinian GP

Alain Prost began his career with Team McLaren, but conflicts of opinion made the French driver to break his two year deal and find a seat in Renault.

Renault
His first victory was all a French driver could dream of, as it was on his home soil in the 1981 French Grand Prix at Dijon while driving a French car. He added 8 more victories during his three full seasons at Renault and was in contention for both the 1982 and 1983 World Championships but conflicts within the team, particularly with teammate Rene Arnoux, and frustration with Renault's inability to solve various technical problems made him return to the British-based Team McLaren.

McLaren
In six seasons with the team he won 30 Grand Prix and clinched 3 World Championship Titles and was runner-up twice.

In 1984 he joined Niki Lauda at McLaren to drive the brilliant McLaren MP4/2, but 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 was scored when the Monaco Grand Prix was stopped at half distance, meaning the top six drivers would only receive half scores. Prost won and took 4.5 points.)

In 1985, using TAG-Porsche engines, he was the First French Formula One World Champion, and repeated as World Champion in 1986 despite driving a car that was underpowered compared to those of his top rivals. In fact it appeared up to the latter stages of the final race of the 1986 season, in Australia, that Prost was going to finish third in the Championship, behind Nigel Mansell and Mansell's teammate Nelson Piquet, however Mansell dramatically blew a tire at high speed, while leading, and the Williams team called Piquet in for a pit stop to change tires as a safety precaution, thus handing the race victory -- and Championship -- to Prost, who had already pitted earlier.

In 1987, in spite of driving an obsolete McLaren-TAG he managed to challenge Piquet and Mansell almost until the end, winning three races and notably breaking Jackie Stewart's record by claiming his 28th Grand Prix victory.

Prost and Senna
Despite being one of the dominant drivers of the decade and having at his disposal a top car, Prost himself recommended the signing of rival Ayrton Senna, who had previously been driving for Lotus, and who had been able to challenge the title contenders in previous years.

With Senna came the powerful Honda engines and a poisonous brew of conflicting personalities. The rivalry between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna is widely considered the most exciting between two sportsmen, and the most bitter as well, and although luminaries such as Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet and Ricardo Patrese were part of this era in Formula 1, it was these two drivers ahead of a star studded field.

In 1988 an intense rivalry began between the two drivers for the supremacy in the only top team of the season. The warring between the drivers peaked at Estoril when Senna swerved purposely to attempt to squeeze Prost against a pit wall. The ill will between the drivers worsened after that point. Prost's 7 wins with the Honda powered McLaren MP4/4 were not enough as his brilliant teammate won eight and the World Championship, making 15 McLaren race wins out of 16 races in the 1988 season.

1989 was Prost's year. He took the new McLaren MP4/5 to four wins, while Senna seemed to take unnecessary risks on the track, sometimes in the name of religion. Prost responded with the comment "Ayrton has a small problem, he thinks he can't kill himself because he believes in God and I think that is very dangerous for other drivers". The roughness of the rivalry was shown late in the year at Suzuka. Prost was at an advantage because if neither driver finished, he would be crowned world champion. The two McLarens collided at a Suzuka chicane when Prost shut the door on a pass attempt by Senna. Prost walked away and Senna returned to the track by illegally receiving a push start from the race marshalls -- a maneuver that resulted in a disqualification after the checkered flag.

In 1990, again at Suzuka the two drivers came together yet again, as Prost (now in a Ferrari) held his line and Senna hit him. Senna admitted the move was premeditated as Senna's lead in the World Championship meant he was crowned World Champion.

Ferrari
Prost won five races in 1990, and by entering the title deciding race at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, he was set to fight for another World Championship. The Pole was won by his Brazilian rival at McLaren, Ayrton Senna, but due to the nature of the circuit, the pole position was placed at the right side of the main straight. This was and remains the dirty side. Senna asked that the position be changed to the left, as it had more grip, and because in his view, the pole position was supposed to favor the fastest driver, and not the second placed. Track officials refuse, and the Pole position place remained at the right of the track.

As a result, Prost's Ferrari quickly overtook Senna at the start of the race. Senna then threw his car into Prost's while entering the first and medium speed corner. Both ended on the gravel pit, and thus Senna clinched the title thanks to his pre-existent points advantage. Later Senna confirmed the action, claiming that it was not fair that the FIA did not change the Pole position, nor the way Prost won the last championship.

In 1991, Ferrari was not on pace. After vocal public criticism of the Italian F1 icon, Prost was fired before the season ended.

Williams
Prost went onto a sabbatical year in 1992, which was dominated by Nigel Mansell in a Williams Renault, then after a political negotiation the British driver was dropped, despite being World Champion, in favor of Prost.

In 1993, Prost clinched his fourth - and final - title, but in a year where he was regularly challenged by Ayrton Senna in an inferior car and vastly less experienced team-mate Damon Hill, many felt his heart was no longer in it.

Shortly before the Portuguese Grand Prix in October 1993 Alain Prost announced he would not defend his world title and instead opted to retire as the most successful driver in the sport's history - a record which stood for almost a decade.

A few days later it was announced that Senna would replace Prost as the lead driver in the Williams team, and despite strenuous attempts by team boss Ron Dennis to lure him back to McLaren for 1994, Prost's final race took place on November 7, 1993.

Prost Grand Prix
 
Alain Prost with Lionel Jospin and Marie-George BuffetIn 1997 he bought the Ligier F1 team and renamed it Prost Grand Prix. Of course, great drivers don't necessarily make great businessmen and so it proved to be with four times world champion Alain Prost. The tens of millions needed to keep the team afloat just were not forthcoming once key sponsors dropped out. In the end nothing could save the ailing team and it went into liquidation in early 2002.

After Prost Grand Prix
Recently, Prost has returned to competition as a driver in ice races. He was linked to the new Grand Prix Masters Series, but declined the invitation. Ex-rival Nigel Mansell has laid down the gauntlet by suggesting that Prost should take part. Prost has also competed in the French GT Championship, driving a Chrysler Viper shared with Jean-Pierre Jabouille.

Personal
Both during and after his racing career Prost received many honours, including: Legion d'Honneur (France, 1985), the Champion of Champions award (Grand Prix Former Drivers' Club, 1988), an OBE (Britain, 1993), and induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (1999).

Throughout his career Prost also earned a set of nicknames; "The Professor" and "The Calculator" (owing to his smooth driving style - which strongly contrasted with more dramatic drivers such as Senna, and his carefully considered approach to race tactics), "The King of Rio" (Prost won six times in Brazil; five in Rio de Janeiro) and "Fast Son of a Bitch" (Coined by Niki Lauda).

Outside of racing cars, Prost is a road cycling enthusiast, and has helped design bicycle frames for the French framebuilder Cyfac. Prost now lives with his wife, Anne-Marie, and two sons Nicolas and Sacha in Nyon, Switzerland.

biography: Wikipedia.org

Last Updated on Friday, 15 February 2008 20:20
 

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