Auto Manufacturer presents the story of the epic rivalry between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost for Formula 1 supremacy, one of the most famous and tense pages in the history of the competition.
It is said that it’s in our nature to only remember winners. When talking about Formula 1, this means to only remember the pilots that won world titles and established records. However Formula 1 is not only about results. It is also about passion, dedication, work and rivalry.
And when it comes to rivalry, there is a single couple that stands out because of the emotions they provided and continue to offer fans from all over the world: Ayrton Senna – Alain Prost.
Brazilian Senna was faster, more impulsive, with a Latin temper while French Prost was smarter, more calculated and cautious. They were both world class pilots who, despite all controversy, ended up respecting each other because of their talent.
First Contact – Brazil, March 25, 1984
Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost competed against each other for the first time in 1984. Prost just returned to McLaren after a three years contract with Renault and it was his fifth Formula 1 season, while Senna was just making his Formula 1 debut with the modest team Toleman, right on front of their own supporters.
The difference between McLaren and Toleman stopped the two from competing from equal ground: Prost won the race after he came in forth in the qualifiers while Senna abandoned in the 8th lap because of engine problems after leaving from the 16th pole position. However, it did take long for Senna’s talent to emerge.
Master of the Rain – Monaco, June 3, 1984
A torrential rain affects the Moanco 1984 race in the seven leg of the season, and Senna only gets the 13th place in the qualifiers. While many other pilots have problems ever since the start of the race, Senna proves his technical qualities and starts to prove his talent. In the 19th lap he reaches the second place but he was to recover 35 seconds compared to leader Prost.
With each lap that passes, Prost signals the organizers to stop the race because of weather conditions, while Senna recovers three more seconds. Prost’s hopes started to come true when the race is stopped in the 32th lap, reason for which Prost slows down on the finish line and Senna manages to go past him and considers himself the winner. Senna’s joy was however short as the final ranking was the one from the 31th lap, when Prost was still the leader.
Prost Brings Senna To McLaren – 1988
Prost already competed for four seasons for McLaren and Ron Dennis must decide who his new teammate will be, and he had to choose between Senna and Nelson Piquet. And Prost had a serious word to say.
” I told Ron to pick Ayrton because he is the more talented pilot. Actually, I was able to stop Ayrton’s arrival at McLaren. One of my qualities was that I don’t regret my decisions, however at that time I made a mistake ” Prost said.
In just the second race of the season, Senna got the pole position in San Marino and won the race. It was Senna’s first victory for McLaren.
First Duel: Portugal, September 25, 1988
The first spark of what it became the biggest rivalries in Formula 1 history appeared in the Portugal race, and this was the first Senna Versus Prost duel. Prost left from pole position however Senna had a better start and took the leader. At the end of the first lap, Prost tried to get over Senna but Senna violently pushed him towards the concrete wall but Prost kept his cool and finally won the race.
How The Senna Vs Prost War Started – San Marino, April 23, 1989
Sella started the 1989 season being the world champion.
McLaren issued a policy according to which the two were unable to attack each other, with the exception of the start. The wonder lasted only until the second race of the season when Senna broke the deal during the second start of the race.
Prost Hits Senna – Japan, October 22, 1989
The conflict between Senna and Prost updates itself at Suzuka, the second last fear of the season when Senna competed from the second place and he was obligated to overtake Prost in order to remain in the fight for the title. And Senna tried to overtake Prost but the French does not allow the move and the two hit.
Both vehicles remain on the circuit but Prost abandones while Senna returns getting a incredible victory. Still, he does not make the podium as he is disqualified after the incident and Prost gets the title.
Senna Hits Prost – Japan, October 21, 1990
History repeats itself one year later. Senna gets the pole position in front of Prost, who decided to leave to Ferrari. After the qualifiers Senna tries to convince FIA to move the pole position from the right to the left side of the circuit but he is refused.
Prost has a better start however Senna does not break and in the first turn he hits Prost, producing a spectacular accident after which they both abandon. Senna becomes champion.
Last Duel – San Marino, April 25, 1993
The conflict of Suzuka in 1990 was also the most dramatic episode of the rivalry between Senna and Prost. In the following season, Senna won the third world title while Prost had a modest season over at Ferrari before taking a break in 1992.
When he returned to Formula 1 in 1993, Prost won the title with Williams while Senna was unable to do anything after McLaren had to use Ford engines instead of powerful Honda ones. However Prost managed to overtake Senna in the 8th lap.
Making Up – Australia, November 3, 1993
The Official Make-Up between the two took place during the last race of the 1993 season, in Australia. It was Prost’s last race. and the last time when the two were on the podium together.
Saying Goodbye – Imola, April 30, 1994
After he quit Formula 1, Prost became an Ambassador for Renault, who provided Williams with engines. Senna had a weak season at the British team and before the Imola qualifiers he was approached on the radio by Prost, asking Senna to win a race soon! Senna replied ” I miss you”.
However, Prost’s wish did not came true because Senna died the second day in a tragic accident.
The rivalry between Senna and Prost divided fans into two distinct sides. Some say that Senna was better because he was faster, some say that Prost was better because he was smarter. The truth is that it doesn’t matter which one of them was better.
Everything that matters is that Senna and Prost thrilled millions of fans through their rivalry and continues to impress people. Because the rivalry between Senna and Prost will forever remain in the history of the Formula 1 competition.
source: © auto-manufacturer.com