Alain Marie Pascal Prost, Order of the British Empire and the Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur is a French racing driver, born 24 February 1955.
A four-time Formula One Drivers’ Champion. Only Sebastian Vettel (four championships), Juan Manuel Fangio (five championships), and Michael Schumacher (seven championships) have equalled or surpassed his number of titles. From 1987 until 2001 Prost held the record for most Grand Prix victories. Schumacher surpassed Prost’s total of 51 victories at the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix.
Prost discovered karting at the age of 14 during a family holiday. He progressed through motor sport’s junior ranks, winning the French and European Formula Three championships, before joining the McLaren Formula One team in 1980 at the age of 25. He finished in the points on his Formula One debut and took his first race victory at his home Grand Prix in France a year later, while he was driving for Renault’s factory team.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Prost formed a fierce rivalry with Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell. In 1986, at the last race of the season, he managed to pip Mansell and Nelson Piquet of Williams to the title. Senna joined Prost at McLaren in 1988 and the two had a series of controversial clashes, including a collision at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix that gave Prost his third Drivers’ Championship. A year later at the same venue they collided again, but this time Prost, driving for Ferrari, lost out.
His time at Ferrari had further controversy, as his antics caused Mansell to become disgruntled and quit, and Prost was fired after a dismal 1991 season when he publicly criticized the team. After a sabbatical in 1992, Prost joined the Williams team, prompting reigning drivers’ champion Mansell to leave for CART. With a competitive car, Prost won the 1993 championship but he retired at the end of the year rather than be teammates with Senna who signed for 1994.
In 1997, Prost took over the French Ligier team, running it as Prost Grand Prix until it went bankrupt in 2001. In 2006, Prost started his fourth year in the Andros Trophy, which is an ice racing competition.
Prost employed a smooth, relaxed style behind the wheel, deliberately modeling himself on personal heroes like Jackie Stewart and Jim Clark. He was nicknamed ‚The Professor’ for his intellectual approach to competition. Skilled at setting up his car for race conditions, Prost would often conserve his brakes and tyres early on in a race, leaving them fresher for a challenge at the end of the race.
Motor sport journalist Denis Jenkinson described Prost as „a very warm and uncomplicated man who doesn’t rely on passion or inspiration. Nor does he indulge in showmanship or bullshit. He is capable of a level of mental discipline beyond the comprehension of most people.”
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