This pages are part of an unofficial Alain Prost-site! Most fans of Alain Prost have a different oppinion about Ayrton Senna than Alain himself. Actually Alain Prost had a helmet of Ayrton Senna in his Team Prost Grand Prix office and an original helmet of Senna at home. For him, Senna had become a friend and Alain thinks, that Ayrton Senna was one of the best drivers ever. However, this doesn't mean, that all the fans of Alain think the same way. We don't forget the unfair driving style of Ayrton Senna and the way he acted, but, what's even more important, we just are sure that Alain Prost was the better F1-driver than Senna - and there are arguments for that...
This page is part of the website www.prostfan.com and made by an Alain Prost-fan. Therefore, fans of Ayrton Senna will probably have another opinion and/or other arguments.
The main reason for this page: The title of my website is "Alain Prost - the best F1-driver ever". I received a lot of e-mails from Senna-fans, that Senna was the best ever. If there would have been fans of Fangio, Ascari, Stewart, Clark or any other drivers, o.k., but why always and only Senna? If Senna would drive races today, he would probably be disqualified or get a 10-second penalty in nearly every race because of unfair maneouvres! Anyway, I listed below some of my arguments to explain, why Alain Prost was the better F1-driver than Ayrton Senna and probably the best F1-driver ever...
10 years of F1
13 years of F1
|In his less than 11 years in F1, Senna had 16 collisions with other drivers. He was out 11 times because of such collisions with other drivers and it seems that he didn't learn of his faults: In his last seven years in Formula 1, he had 13 collisions!
(Source: Guinness GP Who's Who)
|In his 13 years in F1, Alain had just 7 collisions, most in the beginning of his F1-career. He was out every time he had a collision, which means 7 times. But he learned of his faults: In the years 1988 - 1993 he had not even one collision with another driver, except two times, when Ayrton Senna hit him (1989, 1990)... His crash-percentage in general is lower as well... And while Senna had a lot of spins during trainings and in races, Alain had really few.
|A. Senna's win percentage is 25.47.
The win percentage is a good possibility to compare drivers...
|Alain Prost's win percentage is 25.63.
So, higher than the one of Ayrton Senna, although Alain had a bad car in the beginning of his career.
|Points per race: 3.81
||Points per race 3.99
|3 times World Champion
||4 times World Champion
|Senna was very fast and a good driver, but an agressive one and unfair. He often risked his life and the ones of the other drivers, just to gain some seconds.
||Prost was better than Senna, because he only drove at the limit, if it was really necessary and he was always fair and let the other drivers pass, if they were faster. He drove very clean and smooth.
|Now some arguments of Senna-Fans...
||...and the answers of Prost-Fans:
|Senna had more pole positions!
||We think, the win percentage is more important than the poles percentage! In F1, there are no points for the pole position! Let's take the Grand Prix of Mexico 1990: Alain started from 13th position - but the setup was made for race conditions and he won! Alain said after qualifying, that everything will change in race and that sometimes it's better to work on the car during the qualifying to be better prepared for the race than to go for very fast times and fall back during race....
|Alain is a coward! He left McLaren because of Senna, had a clause in his Williams-contract that Ayrton Senna is not allowed to be his team-mate and left Williams because of the arrival of Ayrton Senna.
||It's true, that Alain had in his Williams-
contract of 1993, that Senna is not allowed as his team-mate. Alain said, that's because he wanted to have fun in racing and he was sure, he would have had problems with Senna. But as both Alain and Frank Williams told the press several times, Alain's retirement in 1993 had nothing to do with the arrival of Senna at Williams. Alain had a lot of reasons for his retirement, although he didn't tell all of them to the press. One of the mean reasons was, as it seems, the accident of the American motorcycle rider Wayne Rainey, who is in the wheelchair since then. Alain was deeply affected by this accident as he knows Wayne Rainey quite well and they both have several things in common, like, for example, their similar, professional driving style and they both were 3 times World Champions at that time. Alain didn't want, that his son Nicolas would have fear for him when watching F1 races in TV. And he just had fear to have an accident. But Alain also had a lot of other reasons like there was no applause for him in the press conferences after his victories, while there was applause when other drivers won. Alain said, if he won races with a Williams, that was just normal, but if he didn't win, he had absolutely no excuse for it. Other reasons: the story with Nigel Mansell leaving Williams because of Alain. The truth was, that it was not Alain's fault. Later, the story with Alain's super-licence, the interview Alain gave, the announcement of Williams, which was made to late and the whole lot of bad articles in newspapers and magazines after the missed starts, the Donington Grand Prix, where Alain had a car for dry conditions, but it rained during the whole race... You see, there were a lot of reasons, why Alain had enough of F1...
|Senna lost at least one World Championship title because of the Senna/Prost crash in 1989. And the crash was Alain's fault!
||Both is wrong! Senna wouldn't have won the title anyway because he didn't win the last race of the year, where he had a crash with Martin Brundle. He would have had to win both races to win the Championship! To come back to the crash: Senna was disqualified because he drove through the chicane instead of driving round the chicane. Alain had the same problem once, when he was driving through a chicane to avoid a crash. But that's another story. Important is, that Senna should have known, that he's not allowed do cut the chicane if he knows the rules of the game... Later in the race of Suzuka 1989, we saw, that Senna learned nothing of the crash, as he repeated the same thing he did some laps before. This time he nearly crashed with Alessandro Nannini, who had to break really hard to avoid a crash. You could still say, it was the fault of both Senna and Alain. That's not my opinion as well, but one thing is absolutely clear: the crash in Japan 1990, one year later, was the fault of Ayrton Senna, and it was his intention already before the race had started... And I also want to mention the following: Senna won even at least one Championship because of Alain, as he wouldn't have driven for McLaren in 1988! Ron Dennis wanted to sign Nelson Piquet, but Alain Prost, who wanted to build the strongest F1-team ever, said he would prefer a stronger team mate like Ayrton Senna. So, Ron Dennis signed Senna.
|Senna was the better driver in the rain!
||Senna risked more in the rain, and therefore he often was faster than Alain Prost! But Alain won a lot of races in the rain, so you're wrong, if you think, he wasn't a good race driver in the rain! He just hadn't envy to take this risks. In Australia 89, the rain was so bad that Senna did not see Martin Brundle and hit him from the back. Alain was brave enough to say "I don't start under this conditions, I don't want to risk my life and the life of others". Alain had the courage to give up when the rain was so heavy, that he would risk his life and the life of other drivers...
|Senna was the faster driver than Prost!
||No one has ever been able to demonstrate that... perhaps there is only one demonstration for that: The fastest laps during the races... and in this case you can find that Alain scored 41 fastest laps (thats a percentage of 20.60) - while Senna scored 19 (or 11.80 percent)... This comparision speaks for itself, I think...
|O.K., these were 10 arguments, why I think, Alain Prost was the better race driver than Senna. You can say, Senna would have better statistics if he would still be alive. Maybe, but who really knows? I can understand, that there are Senna-fans, but I can't understand, why the number of Senna-fans is still increasing... And I can't understand why all the fans say, that he was a hero, because he gave so much money to the poor people. If you earn much more than 10 Mio Dollars a year, it's very easy to give one or two Millions to the poor people. Anyway, I do agree, that this is a good characteristic, but I have to add, that Alain gave a lot of money to poor people without telling anything to the press - I know, that he helped children in Romania and gave money to other indigent people and as you surely know, he takes part of the Senna foundation, so it's O.K. if you spend your money for this foundation... But Senna really wasn't the best F1-driver ever...
Reactions and new arguments
|I have to say, I am very surprised, that there have been soo many positive reactions to this page! Anyway, of course there also have been some few negative reactions and I decided to place parts of some of the most important feedbacks I got regarding this page down here. So here they are:
"A lot of people think that Senna was better than Prost. I think he wasn't. If Alain would have had a bit more luck he could have won more titles..."
"You surely put a lot of work into this page. But the Suzuka 89-crash was Alain's fault!!"
(Several people wrote this. As an answer, I would like to quote part of a book written by the Austrian TV-commentator and F1-insider Heinz Prüller about 1989-season:
"If we take a look at the famous collisions of the last four years:
- Senna-Mansell in Rio 86
- Senna-Mansell in Spa 87
- Senna-Schlesser in Monza 88
- Senna-Berger in Rio 89
- Senna-Mansell in Estoril 89
- Senna-Prost in Suzuka 89
We always find a constant name: Ayrton Senna. Perhaps he will one day have to ask himself, sooner or later: "Am I the only perfect man, and all the others are making errors, or is it exactly reverse?" Before Suzuka 89, Senna had a collision with all the other "big four" drivers, only Prost was missed... Niki Lauda said about the accident: "Why should Prost let Senna pass without a fight? Alain drove the normal fight-line, not zig-zag, we know that from Patrese. Alain did not at all drive unfair, the driver, who is behind the other is always guilty at accidents. Prost is absolutely innocent!")
"Senna was an asshole - but Senna fans must be blind."
I'm brasilian, like Ayrton and Nelson, two great drivers too, but I like Alain, because he was cool and he was so fast too. He has four Word Championships, while Ayrton and Nelson have only three each. Well, I don't like Senna because I think he was bad. Not a bad driver, but a bad man; Alain is a good man (and driver) who forgive others (including Ayrton) and knows car races are a sport, not a war. When Alain lost the World Championship at 1983 and 1984 (0.5 points, do you remember?) I said: "He will be a great champion, because the winners are Nelson Piquet and Niki Lauda, greats champions too." I was right. Today he is a team owner, and I'll say the same. Maybe next year, Prost GP will win races, with Olivier Panis, and in 3 years, a Championship. Why I say this? Easy! Because Prost is a Winner!"
(Greetings to all Prost-fans in Brazil!)
I am Brasilian and I think the best Brasilian driver was Nelson Piquet (followed by Emerson Fittipaldi). He has three championships like Senna but didn't have good cars anytime. In 1981 and 1983, Brabham was a good car, but Williams (1981) and Renault and Ferrari (1983) was so good too. In 1986/87 he drove the best car, Williams Honda but Alain won in 1986 (Alain and Nelson were friends...). Senna won races when he drove Lotus and McLaren-Honda. World Champion? Only driving McLaren-Honda, the best car. Prost won in 1986 and the best car were Williams. Nelson won in 1981/83 and Brabham were as good as Ferrari or Renault, not the best car. So, Senna won only if he had the best car... Prost had team-mates like Niki Lauda, Keke Rosberg, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell, but won anyway...
(So, it seems, that Senna was not even the best Brazilian driver and that there are even more Brazilian Prost fans?)
In my opinion Senna was "A DIRTY DRIVER".
(Would you believe, that this was written by another Brazilian, who is a fan of Nelson Piquet...)
Prost is the best F1 driver of all the times (Mexico fans in 90% loves Prost).
(Greetings to all Prost-fans - 90% !?! - in Mexico!!)
I'm a Brazilian fan Formula 1, but I agree with you. I think you can remember that in 1988 Championship, Prost was more regular than Senna during the races and he did more points in that year than Brazilian driver. Prost just lost the championship because rule was injust. Now is different and, if the 1988 championship was today, Prost would be the champion.
(Unbelievable - sooo many "Prostists" in Brazil!)
In 1991, San Marino Grand Prix, Prost spun out on the warm up lap because of the wet track and retired immediately!
(Please don't forget that Gerhard Berger spun out right behind Alain Prost, but Berger was able to rejoin the race - Just a question of luck.)
I am a PROST fan too, but i think that in PROST vs Senna you forgot the main reason why he is better. PROST is alive and Senna not...
(It would perhaps be the main reason, if Senna would have died in an accident that would have been his fault, but it wasn't Senna's fault, so, for me, it isn't the main reason...)
Can I make a copy of your Prost vs. Senna web page? I want to send it to Marco Tolama who is a T.V. man here in Mexico with Television Azteca and that thinks Senna was better.
(Note to all visitors: you can make as many copies of the Prost vs. Senna web page as you like!)
Great web site! It's great to see so much support for Alain... I have been a Prost fan since I started following F1 in the early 80s. I would like to give some of my opinions on why Alain is the greatest driver of all time:
1. Prost has won championships in every form of racing he has entered. In his final year of F3 (1979) he had more than twice the number of points as any one else. Also, in F3 no one else could win with the Renault before or after Alain.
2. As Alan Henry once pointed out, Prost has always had very good teammates. Jimmy Clark did not have the kind of competition that Prost faced. Clark also always had a very good car, supplied by Colin Chapman. Prost was able to contend for championships in cars that his teammates could barely win in (think 1983, 1986, 1987, 1990).
3. In F1, Prost has always outscored his teammates, except for 1/2 point in 1984. Even then he won 7 races to Lauda's 5. Also, I can't remember a race in 84 when Lauda beat Prost in a straight fight, without Prost having engine trouble, starting from the pit lane, etc.
4. Prost displays good sportsmanship. After making a mistake at Zandvoort in 83 and taking Piquet off at Tarzan, he said, "I hope Nelson wins the next race". When the US GP was in Phoenix (my home town) in 1991, Prost went to shake Senna's hand and get the year off to a friendly start. Senna refused.
5. He is not afraid to admit disliking racing in the rain. He didn't make excuses at Silverstone 1988 and Adelaide 1989. At Silverstone he didn't stress the fact that his car had engine problems, etc. Of course, he has said he enjoys driving in the rain. He merely sees no point in racing with other cars when you can't see. People seem to forget that at Imola (immediately after Donington 1993) Prost was easily the fastest in the wet warm-up. He also passed both Senna and Hill in one move on a wet track.
6. Speaking of passing two at once... he also did this at Phoenix 1991 (Alesi and Piquet) and at Jerez 1987 (?). His passing maneuvers were always clean and precise. Prost didn't make several attempts, mistakes, or highly dramatic maneuvers (such as Mansell).
Finally, Prost's driving style was near perfect. His combination of speed, patience, strategy and consistency is very rare. It's too bad that there are no drivers around today who can live up to these standards.
Just my view. Keep up the good work Oskar!
(I got this e-mail from Michael Cords, who lives in Nevada, USA - Thank you very much for the compliments and the good new arguments for Alain!)
Even though I am a Prost fan; the day that the great Ayrton Senna died I felt like the day that John Lennon died. For the older readers of this page I am sure there haven't been days in F1 since the times of the fab4 (Prost, Senna, Piquet, Mansell), and probably we will not see days like those again in our lifetimes. What we have to remember is that we all love this sport and love the men that run those magnificent machines. Love to all the F1 fans arround the world.
(Paul Allen wrote the above e-mail. Several other Prost-Fans wrote similar e-mails... And I think we all agree, that the Grand Prix in the time of the "Fab4" were the most exciting ever...)
I find it in extremely poor taste given the fact that Senna is no longer with us to defend himself.
No celebrity ever defend himself against fans' criticism on the net. Firstly no one would care to do so. Secondly no one CAN do so. They are public figures and they are open to criticism. Everyday there are new webpages saying who is better than who. What Ayrton Senna lost with his life is any chance to ever being better than Prost in his F1 career. And all I am saying is my opinion that Ayrton Senna, when he was alive, was not better than Alain Prost. To put it short, Senna's death doesn't put him in an unfair position in my own analysis.
When you use a figure such as winning percentage = Senna 25.47 / Prost 25.63, this is absolute rubbish when you factor in (by your own statistics) that Prost had a full 3 more years in F1 to rack up those stats...
You write, that "Prost had a full 3 more years in F1 to rack up those stats" (2 years really)... I have to tell you that you need to take a look in Elementary Mathematics to see what an "average" means. Just for you I checked the winning percentage of Alain Prost after ten years: it's 26.35!! So, EVEN BETTER than at the end of his career, due to his "bad" car in 1991. I hope you will realise one day that Alain Prost was better than you think he was... I know he was better than Senna.
Your comparison of Senna and Prost is the best I have ever seen on this subject. I think it's very informative - just unbeatable!
(Thanks a lot for the compliments!)
Senna was the faster of the two drivers, this comes from Jo Ramirez in an interview in F1 magazine. Prost was the better all around racing driver, incredible at car setup and the like. The comparisons between the two are very difficult because they were totally different in their approaches. Senna could drive just about anything fast, Prost was a master technician,and needed to work on his car before he could get 10/10ths out of it. I, unlike most, am a fan of both men, I think they were very evenly matched and pushed each other to greatness, neither would be held in such high regard if it were not for the other.
(I think, Jo Ramirez is one of the few people who really know, who was the better driver, as he worked with both drivers. And he said that Prost was the better driver! I know that Jo is a Prost-Fan and a good friend of Alain Prost...)
It is nice to see some intelligent race fans out there. While Senna was undoubtedly a spectacular qualifier, Prost was better at preparing the car for a race. In fact, Senna admitted this and even used Prost's setups in the race. When looking at race statistics, we see that, in their 2 years as teammates, Prost outscored Senna by 13 points net (due to the ridiculous scoring system at the time which erased 31% of the season) and 32 points gross. If the scoring system were as it is today, Prost would have won the championship both years.
(Unfortunately, the scoring system was different...)
Your Alain Prost web site is terrific. It is great to see there are people who don't romanticise the Prost-Senna debate and look at the cold hard facts. One point of interest you may like to add to your site is that if the points scoring system as it is today was like this since 1950 Alain would have not only won the most races but also the most Championships with 6. He would have won in 1984 (the points would be even between him and Niki but Alain won more races) and he would have also won in 1988 (due to the fact that the stupid "best 11 finishes" rule has been abolished) His 105 points in 1988 would also be 112 - a record if done under today's points system. Alain Prost World Champion 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1993 - Champion of Champions.
(This e-mail has been sent by Bruce Wilson. If Alain Prost would be 6 times World Champion, I'm sure all the people would agree he was the best of them all)
We all heard about Senna beeing faster in qualifying than Prost. Well I think it's wrong. In fact, if you look at the qualifyings for the French GP when Prost and Senna where Team-mates, Prost outdrove Senna by nearly 5 tenths both years and won them. Actually he wasnt as motivated as Senna to win Pole-positions as u know, but when he really wanted Pole he got it (like in France 88,89 and in Portugal 88). People always argue that Senna was unbeatible in Monaco. Well if we look at the qualifyings in 1989, we can see that Prost was faster Thursday morning and afternoon and faster Saturday morning too. What happened Saturday afternoon was that he outdrove Senna by three tenths with the first lap. Then Prost had problems with his car. Senna went out a second time and improved his time by seven tenth. In his third lap he improved by seven tenths again. At the end of the qualifyings, Prost went out a second time but couldn't find a clear run due to traffic. He probably would have had the Pole without his problems because he was very motivated and was the fastest during all the qualifyings and even Sunday morning at the warm-up. There is another way to compare the two drivers at Monaco: Consider the time differences between Senna and Berger and between Prost and Alesi while they were Team-mates. Then compare Alesi and Berger at Monaco when they had the same car. This a very indirect way to compare them but it gives an idea: Prost was faster than Senna by about 1 tenth at Monaco! I hope u can use some of these informations for ur page which is already very interesting.
(An e-mail from Simon who lives in Switzerland and who is a great admirer of Alain Prost. As you see, Simon, I placed it on my site. Regarding Alain's poles, please also read Ayrton Senna - by Alain Prost, which is the complete story of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost written by Alain... Which explains, why Alain Prost was often slower in qualifyings by Senna.)
The single best reason that Prost was better than Senna was the two years that they were team mates (the fairest comparison of all). F1 is decided on points, and Prost scored more, head to head.
(This e-mail was sent in by Marcus Ryan, Canada.)
I am that old Mexican who contacted you a few years ago. I was a fanatical Prostist, and can come back and be one back again, since the arguments do hold. Alain has to do his job, and have results, as a constructeur and team manager. In this area he is a novice, still, but as a driver, everything is in data, recorded, with commentaries, such as that of Rosberg, indicating that Prost was the best of all, in ALL fields. Senna fans are a bit mad or fanatical, to say the least. Montoya is proving to be of a different make, fortunately, and he may be the one to dethrone Schumacher, who can be a bit dirty sometimes, "à la Senna". Do you recall Senna indicating that God was in HIS car with HIM? Why did the other drivers could not share even a little bit of God, for their driving? Absolute bull shit. The poor fellow paid so dearly, for stealing Alain's Williams, throwing his car at Alain's in England, in 1993, and many other niceties he did (striking Irvine in the face, because Irvine dared to pass him in Japan). Even kicking a Mexican marshall official, during a Mexican GP. But as Mexicans did not have no hero, they usually pick up a Brazilian, so no complaints. Ridiculous. After Japan 1990, or really after one year after this date, when Senna ADMITTED, after vehemently DENYING this, one year early, to have thrown his car, DELIBERATEDLY at Prost's, at the start of the Japanese GP, he should have been BANNED from F1, for a minimum of one year or for good. What was the REAL, DEEP meaning of having a guru, Shaman, or I do not what, at his pits, during a Mexican GP, working for Sennas's benefit, and perhaps against the other drivers, particularly those with a crooked nose? What has this sort of thing usually been called, throughout History? People did not mention this during his lifetime since they were afraid of being afected by such "activities". One of the fights between good an evil has been called the fight against.................?
Do you recall the Brazilian soccer team bringing out their "witchman", during games? Is there any need to say anything else about this driver who I hope is in heaven, even if I don't believe there is one? Case closed. If Schumacher did not risk his life, FOR MONEY, he would be a true inheritor of Prost, but he is not clean.
He shall break all of Prost's records, probably, but with no real competition. Schumi will have the records, but not the ARTISTRY that some like Clark, Stewart, Lauda, Giles Villeneuve and Prost had. Best regards. Mariano.
(Interesting new information from a Mexican Prostist...)
Alain Prost was very brave! I quote Nigel Roebuck: In Adelaide, at the end of 1989, conditions were terrible to the point that Prost said he would start the race, but would pull in after a single lap. Many of his colleagues agreed, and said they would do the same, but in the event only Alain went through with it. "I feel ashamed when I look back on that day," said Gerhard Berger. "A lot of us agreed with Alain, but when it came to it he was the only one brave enough to go through with it. What he did took a lot more guts than staying out there."
(This e-mail has been sent by a Prostfan from the United States)
I thought that the following additional plus points are worth mentioning:
1 Alain Prost won four world titles in two different makes of car (McLaren and Williams). Senna only won in a Mclaren. Alain Prost was a very close runner-up to the title in two other makes of car (Renault and Ferrari). He was foiled by Piquet in the Renault in the last race of the 1983 season and unfairly by Senna in the penultimate race of the 1990 season.
2 Prost is considered as the nearest driver to Jim Clark by Jackie Stewart.
3 Prost has always conducted himself as not only a great driver but a great champion. He has always been scrupulously honest and fair.
4 Prost's career was actually just under 12 years (not 13 years as he missed the 1992 season).
5 Alain's average of race wins is even more commendable than Senna's because it was achieved over a longer period than Senna's period.
(Thanks to Laurence Niel Mee for this new arguments, however Alain's career was actually just under 13 years: (1980 - 1993 = 14 years) - (1992 = 1 year) = 13 years)
I just want to add that Alain is the only one driver ever to be F1 Champion being a second driver of the team. If you remember, in 1989 the McLaren Honda team had an obvious First driver in Ayrton. - Fangio and Schumacher can challenge Alain, but not Senna.
(Thanks to Ariel Volpedo for sending this e-mail)
I don't agree about the number of collisions you mention that Senna and Prost had with other drivers. I count 9 for Senna and 8 for Prost.
Then there is the win percentage, as you say is "a good possibility to compare drivers". I checked for it and found other numbers: 25,308 for Senna (162 races, 41 wins) and only 25,247 for Prost (202 races and 51 wins). You even have a higher percentage and a bigger difference between Senna and Prost.
The number of points per race is incorrect too. You're right that Prost got more points per race, but it was 3,8044 for Prost and 3,7654 for Senna. Not 3,99 and 3,81.
Then you mention the number of world titels: 3 for Senna, 4 for Prost. Well, Senna got his first title in his sixth season, Prost only in his seventh. AND Prost drove 13 F1-seasons, Senna only 10. Then I think it is pretty normal that Prost got one more title. Don't forget that he won a title in his last F1-year, so Senna could have made 3 attempts to win the title, to get equal with Prost. Off course this didn't happen because of his accident.
I'm agreeing on your point about the character Senna. Senna was agressive. But I remember a statement of Prost (which I have on tape) where he says that he would drive Senna of the track, because Senna outbraked him at Hockenheim '91. Prost got banned for one race if i'm not wrong, following his statement. This is not as you say that Prost was fair and let faster drivers pass. Suzuka '89 wasn't an example of that I think. But off course, I do agree that Senna was a bit too overagressive by driving into Prost's car.
The somewhere, you're saying that Pole Positions aren't so important, because Prost won from a 13th spot on the grid and that there were no points to gain with it. And then a bit further - quote from you: No one has ever been able to demonstrate that... perhaps there is only one demonstration for that: The fastest laps during the races... and in this case you can find that Alain scored 41 fastest laps (thats a percentage of 20.60) - while Senna scored 19 (or 11.80 percent)... This comparision speaks for itself, I think... - Now i'm wondering why you talk about the fastest laps. There are no points to win with it, and it isn't even a good comparison, as Senna got much more poles, which means he was also fast. Fastest laps mean even less than poles and even with more Fastest laps as Senna, Senna has a bigger win percentage.
I see you posted lot of anti-Senna-comments from Prost-fans, but will you post my comment as well?
(This E-mail I received from Nelson Piquet-Fan Michel from Belgium... Michel, regarding the number of collisions, you should have seen in the above comparision, that I'm stating the source: "Guinness GP Who's Who" - That's a book by Guinness editions. If they were really counting wrong (which I don't believe), then you would have to report it to them...
When it comes to percentages and other statistics on my website, the source is the famous "GRAND PRIX DATA BOOK" written by my friend David Hayhoe and David Holland. I can assure you that even professional journalists are basing their statistics on that book. The problem with any statistics are that people see things different. For example, when Alain broke his wrist in 1980 during qualifying, some people regarded that race as started, some did not. The difference in your and my statistics is based on this... Alain Prost drove officially 199 F1 races and not 202 like you are stating (you can ask the FIA) - This is the official statistics, not my own...
Alain actually competed just under 13 seasons in F1. The reason why Alain was not getting the first F1 title earlier can mainly be blamed on technical defects of his cars, but also on the points system and some bad luck (In 1984, he missed the title by only half a point!)...
The statement Alain made about driving Senna off the track was right after the race, when Alain was full of emotions and anger, he was sorry afterwards for saying it and - in contrary to Senna - he was never actually doing it. He never banned for saying this... Alain was very fair, of course he was not going off to the side of the track while he was fighting (no race driver would do that), but when another driver was overtaking him in a clean way, he was letting the other driver enough space and didn't crash into him... Somehow people don't get that Suzuka 1989 was NOT an overtaking manoeuvre, Senna just lost his nerves there. He was trying the impossible and crashed into Alain (and afterwards tried the same again with Alessandro Nannini and almost crashed again, but of course Nannini was not driving for the championship and prefered driving to a good second place and could in the last second avoid the crash with Senna.
And, last but not least, I was posting your comment, as you can see...)
I really like your website of which I have commented on to you before by e-mail.
However, the dominate issue that appears on this site is that of a post racing debate (from yourself and many other fans) involving Prost & Senna and who really was the better driver. This argument is generating much interest (it has done for years) and does not look like subsiding. Web comments posted on your site (and others) are going “tooth and nail” in both directions just like their track rivalry did in those good old days.
There are some interesting opinions that have been mentioned in defence for each driver (and with great credit to EACH driver) as this being a Prost domain you would expect it to be a little biased.
I have read and enjoyed the messages posted and I would like to highlight my own points of note as follows:
During the 80’s period (after the tragic death of Villeneuve) Prost became my man and it fully remained that way until he retired. I initially hated Senna because of some of his earlier track antics and as with anything in life - when you are (or suddenly become) the rival of the one you support then you are looked upon as the enemy and naturally disliked by that individual. In this case Senna was disliked by me (for those very reasons) not because I hated the man personally.
It is the same with supporting a football team – you will follow one and despise the other (usually you loathe the team nearest to your club or the one most successful) and Sport, Politics and even the damm neighbours bring out love & hate emotions and relationships in people - its just nature.
With that said however, despite me detesting Senna in his racing years (although most of us have missed his talents since his death). One thing was absolutely clear (whether we liked it or not or even admitted at the time) - he was a fantastic driver and unique in every way. But then again so was Prost!
The thing that makes it so difficult to judge who really was the better driver is the fact that both men were so completely different at their trade and also their individual characteristics but shared so much success in the process.
There is virtually no difference between the drivers and this is shown statistically. The percentage of race wins are virtually identical and you cannot just go by that (there are other factors involved) so I agree and disagree with the comments that have been raised on this issue.
To start with - let’s break it down a little:
One is a Racing Driver and the other is a Grand Prix Driver!
In my view Senna remains the greatest Racing Driver of all time & Prost the greatest Grand Prix driver of all time.
So what’s the difference between a Racing driver and a GP driver?
A racing driver is someone who is a super fast “natural” driver with ability to get into any car and instantly go very fast in it - through sheer skill and commitment. He forces the car to do what “he wants it to do” and applies an aggressive style in order to achieve that. The result is an unorthodox (almost ragged) style of driving that is spectacular to watch but is sometimes careless and also dangerous. Statistics have shown that this sort of driver is much more likely to have an accident. A racing driver races to win for the moment of glory and is not one for being conservative. These types of drivers are known as chargers. They also try to win a race in the fastest time possible!
GP World (magazine) covered this theme not too long ago and the 3 greatest “Natural Racing Drivers of all time” voted by them and fans worldwide were as follows:
Unfortunately, apart from being amazing drivers the main thing these three men all share in common is that they are sadly dead – through their passion for racing!
So what is a Grand Prix Driver then?
This is someone who is usually very intelligent and calculated in their race strategy and set up of a car. He is extremely intricate and will be able to immediately pinpoint areas of a car that need improving and any necessary adjustments that are required to make it go significantly quicker. They tend to have minds like computers recording every single component, changing it and then applying the information gathered to extract the best possible performance out of their machinery. Nothing is left to chance and he is not happy until all is completely perfect. Because of this temperament, this person is incredibly consistent at all tracks and overall is very difficult to beat over a season because of the points they can generate from race wins and also high placing 2nd, 3rd etc. These types of drivers are generally looked upon as practical (orthodox) drivers and in stark contrast to that of a charger as they try to win a race in the slowest time possible – (the slower the winning time the better) but that does not mean they are slow drivers!
A guide the 3 greatest Grand Prix drivers in my opinion are as follows:
All three were super consistent “thinking” drivers who over a season looked ahead at the big picture in pursuit of the ultimate prize (i.e. the World Championship itself) even if it meant sacrificing a race win to get it.
What made Prost vs Senna so special in comparison to previous or subsequent F1 rivalries was that you had two very different but equally effective styles of driving for the first time in direct competition with one another. This made it all the more unique and in my view more enjoyable to watch! One driver (Senna) would usually push off from the start and build a significant lead and then try to consolidate or push on to the finish - whilst the other (Prost) would usually look after his car and tyres from the start by generally being conservative and then push towards the latter stages of a race relying on extra grip, fuel he has saved and healthier machinery to take the chequered flag.
Before then Fangio vs Moss was a battle of two GP driving styles – Fittipaldi vs Stewart was a combination of the two. However, nothing was to the extent of the wonderful Prost vs Senna rivalry nor to the level of intensity they raced each other under.
Add that with some other super talented drivers in the era of the mid to late 80’s such as Piquet, Lauda and Mansell and in my view it was the pinnacle years of F1 - the golden age of motor sport if you like.
So overall who is better?
Well in my view it’s too close to call as both men were complete geniuses at their profession and went about it in complete different ways! Frankly put, we will probably never see this sort of direct competition again and therefore I leave that judgement for you all to decide who was best!
However, I personally believe everyone should be praising both drivers instead of arguing who was the better. Let’s face it - we were all fortunate enough to witness these two sporting megastars go head to head in the same era and in the same machinery which as we know rarely happens if at all ever! It was simply fantastic stuff to watch as I am sure you would agree!
It would be interesting to see if this message helps to resolve this argument or on the contrary attracts even more attention on the issue!
(This E-mail I received from Alex Allan from London (UK)... - Many thanks to Alex for this message!)
Its really good that so many people are debating on this topic... Well I think that question doesn't even arise because if you remember the main motivation of Ayrton Senna was to defeat Alain Prost who he believed was the best so Ayrton himself had admitted that when Prost left the game all his motivation was lost and he wanted him to rejoin the game... so it's quite clear from Senna's point of view who was the best... I think this argument among the fans is really not needed in the end both were good drivers but very different in their own ways...
(This E-mail I received from Bijon Lahiri from India... - It's a nice word to end this whole debate, I think!)
In 1989 Senna won in Suzuka after the incident with Prost. Balestre decided that he cut the chicane after the incident and he was disqualified. He would won the 1989 Championship if he wasn't disqualified. - In 1990 Senna pole position was moved in the dirty side of the road, again after a Balestre decision. That was unfair, and its a fact. The rest is history.
(You obviously watched the Senna movie and are referring to it. You say that Senna lost the 1989 Championship because of Balestre. That is just a wrong statement. Alain Prost won the championship 1989 with 76 points. Senna had 60. The win in Suzuka would have given Senna 9 points. He would have had 69 points with the win in Suzuka. So, Senna would NOT have been F1 World Champion 1989, no matter what! Just get over it!
Oh... and something else: Yes, the pole position 1990 was on the dirty side of the track, just like in 1989, 1988 and 1987. The first time it was on the clean side was in 1991. Don't believe everything they say in the Senna movie, much of it is just not true... So even that so called "fact" is not true... However it's no secret that Balestre didn't like Senna. That's not surprising the way Senna drove... Nowadays he would be given tons of penalties for all the collisions he caused - he would probably even be disqualified in every other race...)
Hey you forgot to mention a key fact in the Senna – Prost battle. Alain had faster race pace than Ayrton with the possible exception of Monaco/Detroit. James Hunt when commentating for the BBC made exactly this point during his commentary for the 1989 Monaco grand prix. Author Nigel Roebuck makes a similar point during his commentary for ESPN during the 1988 Canadian grand prix. Plain for anyone to see: Dry track and no traffic, Alain was always the master of Senna.
(Thanks to David from Liverpool for this!)