What a life; what a career; what an F1 story Alain Prost has to tell. How better, then, to revisit the back catalogue of this four-time world champion than by presenting him with the questions of friends, rivals, peers and acolytes
Quietly at rst, but with growing conviction, Alain Prost leafs through the stack of questions supplied to us by the great and the good of Formula 1. This method means we’re not starting at the beginning and working to an end; we’re diving in, focusing on highlights and stepping off into questions of character.
And, on this hot-baked Abu Dhabi afternoon, Prost seems to have all the time in the world to answer questions and share a personal account of some of the most memorable moments in F1 history. Ayrton Senna and Ron Dennis, of course. But also cycling and parenthood. Then the business of competition, of winning, and articulating what it takes to become a champion.
Every now and again a living legend just wants to open up and start talking. And when they do, F1 Racing is here to listen… You and Senna at the chicane at Suzuka in 1989? Whose fault was that? [Brundle is referring to the infamous comingtogether between these two titans – team-mates and bitter rivals – at the 1989 Japanese GP. The clash settled the title in Prost’s favour.] Martin Brundle Sky Sports F1 commentator and ex-F1 racer There is no fault. I know a lot of people… maybe they don’t understand. It depends whether they are fans of Ayrton or fans of mine. But during this race, I was under control. I was really, really under control. Before the race I said to Ron [Dennis, McLaren team boss] and I said to Ayrton that if I’m in a situation where I have to, I’m going to open the door, because I had done so many times already in 1988 and ’89.
If you remember I worked really hard on the race setup, but Ayrton was much quicker in qualifying, which was not a problem. I was much, much quicker in the warm-up and I really had the race under control. And when he went through the chicane… [Prost puts both his hands in front of him and shoots right in front of left, to indicate Senna’s manoeuvre] he really came very fast. At that point, if I had opened the door [to let Senna pass] I would not have made the chicane myself. And that was not a possibility for me if I wanted to be world champion. So there’s no ‘fault’ – he tried and I did not put the car in front of him enough. In fact, I was surprised by the speed he was coming, so obviously we touched. It was not a big impact but I think it’s very important to say this: people still say that Senna wasn’t world champion because of that