Alain Prost

F1 Racing - - THEY ASK THE QUESTIONS - WORDS POR­TRAITS

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

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