In the 13th episode of Formula 1’s ‘Beyond The Grid’ podcast, former champion Alain Prost talks about his fight with Ayrton Senna, title fights, Renault/McLaren/Williams, Daniel Ricciardo and more.
The 63-year-old starts the podcast talking about his fitness levels now while speaking about their new recruit Daniel Ricciardo, who bring a lot to the table for Renault – both in terms of performance and marketing value.
He reckons for a driver like him coming from a winning team having raced against the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen is useful for Renault who are pushing itself to the top and fight against Mercedes, Ferrari and even Red Bull Racing.
Prost then talks about the Renault team then when he raced between 1981 and 1983 to the current dynamics which is totally different. He felt he could have won titles in 1982 and 1983 if for the team management decisions.
He then speaks on the move to McLaren and becoming a ‘Number 2’ to Niki Lauda – adding that the status within the team for ‘Number 1’ and ‘Number 2’ were different in those days to the current times.
A newspaper reading that Prost can never be a champion instilled motivation for him to win it eventually in 1985. He reveals the story behind being called the ‘professor’, given to him by a Michelin personnel.
He regards the racing in 1980’s to be the best while speaking about his rivals Nelson Piquet, Lauda, Nigel Mansell and Keke Rosberg. Moving to his rivalry with Senna, he reveals that it was him who asked Honda to put the Brazilian in the car.
The Japanese manufacturer had decided to put Piquet but Prost asked for Senna. He then talks about the incidents between them which made the human side difficult more than the team or racing.
He added the Imola 1989 as one of bad episodes which upset Philip Morris’ John Hogan the most, who had reached an agreement between him and Senna to not jeporadise each other’s race and give the advantage to Ferrari.
In addition, the news stories done at that time involving Prost’s off-record chats created some stir as well. The Frenchman speaks then on the Senna after he retired who he thinks was completely different to what he was when they raced together.
He felt the Brazilian opened up to Prost and he could see the human side of Senna then. He felt bad that this wasn’t shown in the Senna’s documentary which would have made more sense to their ‘love and hate’ relationship.
Prost ends the podcast talking about the difference between teams like Williams and McLaren wherein the former meant more like a job. Also, discusses his retirement and the difficult times managing Prost Grand Prix due to all the politics.
[Listen: Toto Wolff]