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The F1 legend who impressed in a short-lived McLaren partnership

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Stefan Johansson drove for 10 completely different groups in Components 1 earlier than having fun with a profitable IndyCar and sportscar profession, capped by victory at Le Mans in 1997 with Tom Kristensen and Michele Alboreto. Now 67, the Swede factors to a driver that he solely partnered for 16 races, however somebody he believes is a recreation altering F1 all-time nice, as his favorite team-mate.

For his third full season in an F1 profession that started with two non-descript appearances for Shadow in 1980, Johansson joined McLaren for 1987 to changing the retiring 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg. He was teamed up with Alain Prost.

“I’ve had so many team-mates, and so many nice guys too, that it’s onerous to choose one,” says Johansson. “However I’d have to choose Prost.”

Prost had gained his second consecutive world championship with McLaren in 1986. However Johansson’s arrival within the staff from Ferrari, the place he’d additionally partnered Alboreto, coincided with the rise of Williams-Honda as F1’s dominant pressure together with Ayrton Senna starring at Lotus. As Nelson Piquet got here out in high within the intra-Williams battle to safe his third championship, Prost’s three wins (yet one more than Senna) put him solely fourth within the factors, two spots and 16 factors forward of his team-mate.

Johansson took 5 podium finishes, peaking with runner-up finishes at Spa and Hockenheim, and was left in awe of the Frenchman who would go on so as to add two extra world titles in 1989 and 1993.

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“It was wonderful simply how good he was,” Johansson provides. “I realized a large quantity from him, greater than I’ve realized in my complete profession actually, simply in that one yr collectively. He was additionally an awesome man, we had quite a lot of enjoyable collectively, we grew to become good pals and nonetheless are in the present day – I had dinner with him simply final month.

Johansson reckons he realized extra from Prost than another driver he raced with in his profession

Picture by: Ercole Colombo

“We developed an awesome relationship. Again then, he was the grasp. His work ethic was above and past anyone else within the paddock. How we went about his work with the automobile and the staff, and the way he put the entire weekend collectively. He was at a very completely different degree than anyone else.”

Johansson made means for Senna at McLaren in 1988 – sparking one of many bitterest of intra-team rivalries of all time – however he bought alongside completely effectively with Prost.

“He’s nonetheless among the finest in historical past, extremely underrated in comparison with a few of the different guys who had been extra flamboyant and spectacular”
Stefan Johansson

“He informed me that the driving force is the CEO of the automobile, all these folks round you must handle the automobile as finest they’ll, extracting probably the most out of all people led to the highest of the rostrum on Sunday,” remembers Johansson, whose unfulfilling yr at Ligier in 1988 preceded stints at Onyx, AGS and Footwork then 5 years of Indycar racing at Tony Bettenhausen Jr’s staff. “It was a very completely different course of that I skilled with anybody else.

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“He’s nonetheless among the finest in historical past, extremely underrated in comparison with a few of the different guys who had been extra flamboyant and spectacular on the monitor. He was all about getting the job achieved, he was distinctive.”

Johansson, pictured with Prost after taking his Onyx to the podium at the 1989 Portuguese GP, still considers Prost as one of F1's greatest ever drivers

Johansson, pictured with Prost after taking his Onyx to the rostrum on the 1989 Portuguese GP, nonetheless considers Prost as certainly one of F1’s best ever drivers

Picture by: Motorsport Images



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