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Why Prost and Senna’s bitter feud healed

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“I am not going to rejoice like some those who it is 20 years on,” says Alain Prost of the anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s dying at Imola on Might 1 1994. “I can reply these questions on him, no downside – he was an distinctive man – however I simply do not see it the identical manner as the opposite guys do.”

To know why, it’s a must to admire the background of their shared historical past: Prost and Senna fought out what was arguably Method 1’s biggest rivalry. After changing into team-mates at McLaren in 1988, the primary spark flew when Senna aggressively shoved Prost in the direction of the pitwall at Estoril, later prompting the Frenchman to state: “Typically I admit I used to be frightened by him; he was ready to do something.”

Aside from a number of media spats that occurred earlier than Senna was topped world champion in 1988, the true ignition level for his or her bitter battle was Imola ’89. Senna handed Prost on the method to Tosa on the restart after Gerhard Berger’s fiery crash, breaking what Prost noticed as an settlement to not move one another there. However Senna was adamant he had the transfer accomplished earlier than the nook, so in his thoughts that did not rely.

Whether or not it was gamesmanship on Senna’s half or twisting logic in his personal favour, Prost was livid and their enmity would run and run. Their successive title-deciding collisions at Suzuka in 1989 and ’90 tarnished F1’s repute and moved the goalposts by way of the lengths drivers would go to win.

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Each felt arduous completed by: Senna that the FIA had manipulated the ’89 lead to Prost’s favour – “a results of the politics we had,” he’d declare – whereas Prost questioned Senna’s ethics and sanity. However the antipathy that rumbled for half a dozen years was ended by Prost’s retirement following his 1993 title success with Williams.

From that time on, these sworn enemies turned buddies. Which is sort of unbelievable, given what had gone earlier than when Senna had typically refused to consult with Prost by identify, by no means thoughts shake his hand or converse to him immediately.

Senna and Prost had a frosty relationship whereas each had been lively, not least as a consequence of a number of on-track clashes

Picture by: Ercole Colombo

“I do not hold the unhealthy moments or any unhealthy souvenirs in my thoughts about him,” Prost says in the present day. “I hold the final six months [of his life] in thoughts. That is after I knew Ayrton far more than ever earlier than. He was a totally completely different individual, I understood who he was and why he was appearing generally.”

Whenever you thought of the ferocity of their duel, encapsulated by Senna launching his McLaren flat-out into Prost’s Ferrari on the first nook at Suzuka in 1990, that is fairly a reversal of their relationship to understand.

“I look again on how he was [when they were rivals] as a praise,” he provides. “I got here to grasp that Ayrton’s fundamental motivation, nearly his sole motivation, was to deal with me and on beating me.

“Close to the tip, after we had been shut, it was very unusual as a result of we might speak concerning the unhealthy security and this sort of factor” Alain Prost

“That’s the reason after we had been on the rostrum collectively in Australia in ’93, after I stopped, only a few seconds later he was already a unique individual [recall that following what would be his last-ever victory, Senna insisted that Prost stand with him on the top step of the podium after Alain received his runner-up trophy, physically pulling him up to stand arm-in-arm together].

“That’s the memento of our relationship that I carry with me in the present day.”

Prost remembers his post-retirement dealings with Senna fondly, and acknowledges the irony that their conversations of the time had been typically about the necessity to improve automotive and circuit security with what transpired.

“Close to the tip, after we had been shut, it was very unusual as a result of we might speak concerning the unhealthy security and this sort of factor,” says Prost. “He would ask me many occasions to take the lead of the GPDA, and I mentioned no. We had some very personal discussions collectively round this time. It was very unusual.

Prost attended Imola in 1994 for French TV and met Senna twice during the fateful weekend

Prost attended Imola in 1994 for French TV and met Senna twice throughout the fateful weekend

Picture by: Sutton Pictures

“I hold this memento [of him] from then proper till his final day, as a result of I met him two or 3 times, and simply earlier than [the race at Imola] – and naturally he was already this completely different individual to me. That’s the reason I desire to consider that alone.”

Of the horrible occasions of Imola that darkish weekend in 1994, a race Prost attended to commentate on for French TV, he spoke to Senna on quite a few events – twice on the morning of the race: as soon as when Senna sought him out within the TV compound; and a second time when Prost went to see him within the Williams storage.

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Recall too that Senna had despatched the radio message (“a particular hiya to my pricey pal Alain – all of us miss you Alain”) from his automotive to the commentary field over the radio throughout a lap in apply.

Prost confirms: “Ayrton known as me on Saturday, so I met him on Saturday, and I met him on Sunday twice – the primary fixed [of their conversations] was security and the truth that he was not pleased with the state of affairs, pondering that the Benetton was not authorized. He was very targeted on that, nevertheless it was very bizarre… Very bizarre.”

Prost believes Senna was a very different man in 1994

Prost believes Senna was a really completely different man in 1994

Picture by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images



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