Formula 1 French
racing driver of the 80's and early 90's.
Known as the 'Professor
' for his racing acumen, Alain Prost ranks as the second most sucessful F1
driver ever with a record 51 GP
wins, 106 podium finishes to his credit and won four Driver's Championships in 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1993. Only Fangio
better him on that front with five.
Prost made his debut in 1980 for the McLaren
team and in his first race in Beunos Aires
he finished in sixth in what turned out to be a solid first season with another three points finishes.
He then moved to the Renault
team for the start of the 1981
season and despite a difficult start where he only managed one finish in the first seven races, he won his first ever GP in front of his home fans at Dijon
Another two wins followed that season at Monza
continued to impress the next season, opening with another two consecutive wins at Kyalami
. His pinnacle with Renault was in 1983
when he finished runner-up to Brabham
's Nelson Piquet
in the Driver's Championship.
In 1984 Prost returned to McLaren, which had been re-formed as McLaren International, alongside Nikki Lauda
. In his first season with the team Prost won seven races and missed out on the 1984 Driver's Championship to his teammate by the narrowest margins, just half a point.
However, the following year, 1985
, he took the first of his four titles and successfully defended it in 1986, then only the fourth driver ever to do so.
In 1988 he was joined at McLaren by a new star of F1, the Brazlian Ayrton Senna
, and despite personal hostility between the two men, as a driving duo they proved awesome. In 1988, in a display of complete domination between the two of them, they managed to win all but one race. However, Prost had to settle for second place in the Championship behind his teammate and rival Ayrton Senna.
The next year he gained his revenge with his third Driver's Championship, however, the personal rivalry between the two men meant his time with McLaren was at an end and he moved across to the Ferrari team for the start of the 1990
During that year he added another five wins to his mounting tally of victories and managed a second place in the Championship behind rival Senna, not helped by the Brazilian shunting him out of the Japanese
GP when he was leading.
Despite his relative success with Ferrari in 1990, the following year Ferrari
slumped in form and Prost's relationship with the Italian outfit became increasingly fractious. 1991 was his first F1 season without a win since his debut year and he left the team before the season was complete.
Disillusioned, Prost dropped out of F1 for 1992
but was brought back in to racing by the Williams-Renault team as a replacement for Nigel Mansell
. It was a winning return. Seven GP wins brought him his fourth and final world title. At the end of the 1993 season, at the age of 38 and after a career spanning 13 years, Alain Prost announced his retirement.
After his retirement Prost continued to be involved in F1 whether as a TV
commentator or part of a team set-up. Then in 1997 Prost successfully took over the Ligier F1
team and renamed it 'Prost'. The team folded in February of 2002 after conspicuously under-achieving. Though it was the unofficial French national team it never reached the competitiveness achieved by Guy Ligier