Alain Prost, the sad end

Alain Prost, the sad end

Quadruple F1 world champion as a driver, Alain Prost has not enjoyed the same success as team boss.

Alain Prost could hardly imagine better for his last season in a Formula 1 seat. After a sabbatical year after his complicated adventure at Ferrari, he made a triumphant return to Williams in 1993, winning his fourth world championship title despite Ayrton Senna . But the “Professor” was not yet finished with F1.

As soon as his racing career ended, he became a consultant for McLaren, participating in the development of single-seaters. And if he was sometimes close to making his return to competition, he definitively turned the page, in 1997, by buying the Ligier team, which became Prost Grand Prix. After a promising start, notably thanks to Olivier Panis, the adventure quickly turned into a nightmare.

Placed in compulsory liquidation after five years

Sixth in the constructors’ standings for its first year, Prost Grand Prix joined forces with Peugeot Sport in 1998, but the results were catastrophic, with the team hitting rock bottom in 2000 with zero points from its two drivers, Jean Alesi and Nick Heidfeld. , who made themselves look ridiculous by crashing during the Austrian Grand Prix. Peugeot stops the costs at the end of the season but its replacement by Ferrari changes nothing.

The results were indeed just as disastrous in 2001 with four meager points scored in the championship and to these difficulties was added the serious accident of the Brazilian Luciano Burti at the Belgian Grand Prix. This season will be the last for Prost Grand Prix. Facing serious financial difficulties, the team was placed in liquidation in January 2002. The end of a painful story.

“In the end, I was happy to stop”

Alain Prost will rarely mention this failure. “ Three months after launching the team, we had very good results and came close to winning a race. But to my family and close friends I said: ‘I’m dead’, he said in 2015. I knew it from the start. I knew it… I know Formula 1 too well. I know the country too well. So my biggest mistake… If I made a mistake, it was this. It would have been better not to do it. I shouldn’t have made the decision to do this at the last minute. »

« Two days before signing the contract, I didn’t want to do it anymore. But we had a project with Peugeot and a contract for five years with free engines and a lot of developments, he continued. Then they came back two days before signing and there were only three years left and I had to pay for the engine… In the end, I was happy to quit. »

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