PRIX EDITIONS, 23.11.1989


This interview is also available in French!

Crowned World Champion for the third time in controversial circumstances, Alain Prost has called 1989 his worst season in Formula One. How can such success have turned sour? In this short extract from a major interview to be published in the next issue of Prix Editions, Prost's friend Patrick Camus finds out.

Ron Dennis has lost a lot of his authority, and the team's equilibrium has been upset as a result. It's always in a team's interests to have the two best drivers of the day. Now, of course, with hindsight, I regret the situation I've found myself in. I was living in a friendly environment, relaxed, everyone was pulling in my direction... I'd have been World Champion twice more! I didn't think Ron Dennis would have decided one day to play the Senna card all along the line. Or at least he should have warned me, and I'd have acted differently. The human problems, the conflicts I've been living through at McLaren for two years have been unsettling me too much, stopping me giving 100% of myself at work.

I have reason to pity Senna, he'll be very unhappy one day - the day he stops winning, the day he doesn't have the best equipment. Second place, for him, will be the worst of all possible failures. Yes, you have to feel sorry for him... If I'd wanted it that way, Senna would still be with Lotus. Him with his problems, me with another world title. People would be congratulating me because with an equal engine he'd be miles behind me... He's very quick, quicker than I am in certain circumstances. He also takes more risks. It's up to him to weigh up how worthwhile those risks are, He reminds me of the Prost of a few years back - and I understand now what life must have been like for Lauda with me alongside him.

It's an adventure I needed. I couldn't just stop racing after these last two seasons of frustration, when I couldn't go to the limits of my potential. McLaren will always be "my" team, but every driver hopes to wear the Ferrari red one day. On the other hand, you can't let yourself be blinded by that red, see only the legend and the myth. Let's say I'm going to the right place at the right time - and hoping that '90 will bring me the satisfaction I haven't known in '89.

Mansell is a very quick driver, who won't be easy to beat. But it's our job to measure ourselves against the best. The most important thing is to know we get along very well together - and I hope it stays that way. What happens on the track mustn't interfere with that. It's a matter of intelligence, more than anything. Nigel and I have a lot in common, we have the same attitude to racing. Senna will never get along with a team-mate of equal stature.

The problem with Formula One is that everything is based on results, on arguments and polemics - pleasure doesn't mean anything any more. And this year I've been really sickened by it all. I turn up at the circuits with no desire to be there, as if I were fetching up for another shift on the shop floor.

I'm lucky enough never to have had a major accident, so I don't know what real fear is. But ever since Pironi's Hockenheim accident, when his Ferrari was launched off the back of my Renault, I have hesitated when faced with certain risks. I'm too afraid of what Pironi went through, of what Regazzoni is still going through. Not being able to walk anymore, living in a wheelchair - that's the worst thing that can happen to a driver. Each time we see a serious accident, I think something in our subconscious breaks...

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