|Occupation:||Race Car Driver|
|Height:||165 cm (5' 5'')|
|Birth Day:||February 24, 1955|
|Birth Place:||Lorette, France|
|Height:||165 cm (5' 5'')|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
He wanted to be a gym instructor before discovering racing.
Prost won several karting championships in his teens. In 1974, he left school to become a full-time racer, supporting himself by tuning engines and becoming a kart distributor. His prize for winning the 1975 French senior karting championship was a season in French Formula Renault, a category in which he won the title and all but one race in 1976.
Prost went on to win the 1977 Formula Renault European championship before moving up to Formula Three (F3) in 1978. In 1979, he won both the French and European F3 championships, by which time he was on the shopping lists of several Formula One teams. After carefully considering his options, he chose to sign with McLaren for 1980. He surprised the British team by declining their offer of a race drive in a third car at the final race of the 1979 season at Watkins Glen — reasoning that the token effort would benefit neither him nor the team.
Prost began his career with McLaren (being run by Teddy Mayer) in 1980 alongside Ulsterman John Watson. On his debut in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he finished in sixth place, earning one point, something achieved by only a handful of drivers. Prost added four more points to his tally during the season, scoring points at Interlagos, Brands Hatch and Zandvoort. Prost finished the year 15th in the Drivers' Championship, equalling points with former world champion Emerson Fittipaldi. Despite the encouraging debut season, Prost had several accidents, breaking his wrist during practice at Kyalami and suffering a concussion during practice at Watkins Glen. He also retired from the Canadian round in Montreal a week earlier because of rear suspension failure. At the end of the season, despite having two years remaining on his contract, he left McLaren and signed with Renault. Prost has said that he left because of the large number of breakages on the car and because he felt the team blamed him for some of the accidents.
Prost finished the 1987 season in fourth place in the championship behind Piquet, Mansell and Lotus driver Ayrton Senna. Prost finished 30 points behind champion Nelson Piquet. Other than his debut season in 1980 and 1991, it was the furthest away he would finish a season from the championship lead.
In November 1982, three years before it became a round of the F1 World Championship, Prost, along with fellow F1 drivers Jacques Laffite and Nelson Piquet, made the trip to Melbourne, Australia to drive in the non-championship 1982 Australian Grand Prix at the short (1.609 km (1.000 mi)) Calder Park Raceway. Driving a Formula Pacific spec Ralt RT4 powered by a 1.6 litre Ford engine, Prost sat on pole for the race with a time of 39.18. He then led every lap to win what would be the first of 3 Australian Grand Prix wins. He finished 15.32 seconds clear of Laffite, with 1981 Australian Grand Prix winner, young Brazilian driver Roberto Moreno finishing third.
Prost was married to Anne-Marie (born 14 February 1955), but they divorced sometime later. They have two sons, Nicolas (born 18 August 1981) and Sacha Prost (born 30 May 1990). Prost also has a daughter, Victoria. From 2014 to 2018, Nicolas raced in Formula E for e.dams Renault, a team partially run by his father. Prost lived in his hometown, Saint-Chamond, until he and his Renault team fell out in the early 1980s. In April 1983 the Prost family moved to Sainte-Croix, Switzerland, and shortly after to Yens, Switzerland. They moved to Switzerland after Renault workers went to Prost's house in France and burned his Mercedes-Benz and another one of his road cars. They lived there until November 1999, when they moved to Nyon in the same country. In December 2015, Prost became a grandfather with the birth of Nicolas Prost's son Kimi.
Arnoux left Renault in 1983 and American Eddie Cheever replaced him as Prost's partner, allegedly because of Renault's desire to sell more road cars in North America (three of the season's 15 races were on the North American continent). Prost earned a further four victories for Renault during the season and finished second in the Drivers' Championship, two points behind Nelson Piquet. Piquet and the Brabham team overhauled Prost and Renault in the last few races of the season. Prost, who felt the team had been too conservative in developing the car, found himself increasingly at odds with Renault's management, who made him the scapegoat for failing to win a championship. In addition to that, the French fans recalled the bitter fight that had caused their favourite, Arnoux, to leave the team. Prost said in an interview with ESPN during the final race that his car was "not competitive" and that he "didn't lose by my own fault" Renault fired Prost only two days after the South African race. He re-signed for McLaren for the 1984 season within days and moved his family home to Switzerland after Renault factory workers burned the second of 2 of Prost's cars, one of them being a Mercedes-Benz.
The Frenchman joined double world champion Niki Lauda at McLaren (now being run by Ron Dennis) in 1984, driving the John Barnard designed McLaren MP4/2 which used a 1.5 litre TAG-Porsche V6 engine. He lost the world championship to Lauda in the final race of the season in Portugal by half a point, despite winning seven races to Lauda's five, including winning in Portugal. The half point came from the Monaco Grand Prix, where Prost had been leading, albeit with Ayrton Senna (Toleman) and Stefan Bellof (Tyrrell) closing on him rapidly, when Clerk of the Course Jacky Ickx stopped the race at half distance due to heavy rain, which was controversial, for Ickx displayed the red flag without consulting the race officials. Under Formula One regulations, Prost received only half of the nine points normally awarded for a victory.
Prost's seven wins in 1984 equalled the record set by Jim Clark in 1963.
In 1985, Prost was awarded the Légion d'Honneur by President François Mitterrand.
In 1985 Prost became the first French Formula One World Champion. He won five of the sixteen Grands Prix during the season. He had also won the San Marino Grand Prix, but was disqualified after his car was found to be 2 kg underweight in post-race scrutineering. Prost finished 20 points ahead of his closest rival, Michele Alboreto. Prost's performance in 1985 earned him the Légion d'honneur distinction in France.
Prost uses a helmet design based on the three colours of the French flag, those being blue, white and red, along with his name along the side. During his early career however, Prost used a basic design of white all over with some blue detail around the visor (blue helmet with a white 180° flipped Y and red lines in the lower branch of the flipped Y and in the upper branch, surrounding the top). During Prost's time at Renault, he used more blue details, most notably around the rear of his helmet. Prost's helmet changed in 1985, as his helmet now had the blue detail around the front, surrounding the visor (with also a blue stripe on the side region, making the white area become a P) and a white ring with red lines surrounding the top (forming a white circle with a blue half in the rear of the top). . Prost kept a similar design for his entry at Ferrari and Williams. Sometimes Prost used variants of his helmet design. In 2007 he used his original design, but with the circle top all red and a red line in the lower chin area. In 2010, he used a pearl white helmet with silver flames and a blue-white-red-white-blue stripe on the visor, designed by Kaos Design.
Alain Prost was born near the town of Saint-Chamond, in the département of Loire near Lyon, France to André Prost and Marie-Rose Karatchian, born in France of Armenian descent. Prost had one younger brother called Daniel, who died of cancer in September 1986. Although short, standing at 1.67 m (5 ft 6 in), Prost was an active and athletic child, who enthusiastically took part in diverse sports, including wrestling, roller skating and football. In doing so he broke his nose several times. He considered careers as a gym instructor or a professional footballer before he discovered kart racing at the age of 14 while on a family holiday. This new sport quickly became his career of choice.
Despite a slightly disappointing 1987 season, nevertheless by the end of that year Prost had the honour of notching up his 4th consecutive No.1 driver of the year by the editor of the Autocourse annual, matching Niki Lauda's run of No.1's from 1975 to 1978 in the same annual. Writing in 1987, the Autocourse editor mentioned that despite driving a down on power engine (compared to the Honda's) "Prost should have won at least 6 races in 1987 - but he won't moan about it. Despite being out of championship contention, 1987 was a memorable year for Prost. His win at Estoril was exceptional." In 1985, the Autocourse editor wrote of Prost: "In the long run, Ayrton Senna may be the better driver, but in 1985 for speed and consistency Prost had no equal", while in 1986, the Autocourse editor commented on Prost's season "Alain had an almost faultless year. 1986 was a year of Prost's outstanding all round ability."
Despite Nelson Piquet winning the 1987 Drivers' Championship and Williams winning the Constructors' Championship, Honda decided not to supply the team with their engines, partly due to Williams's refusal to dump Nigel Mansell and hire Japanese driver and Honda test driver Satoru Nakajima (who debuted with Lotus in 1987), and instead supplied the McLaren team for 1988. Prost had convinced Ron Dennis to sign Ayrton Senna to a three-year contract, which played a role in luring Honda (Senna's ability had been highly regarded by the Japanese giant when using their engines with Lotus in 1987 and both were keen to continue their association). However, this began the rivalry that pushed two of the sport's greatest drivers to unprecedented heights of success and controversy. McLaren-Honda dominated the season, winning 15 out of 16 races. Prost finished first or second in every race other than his two retirements at Silverstone and Monza. He won seven races and in total outscored his new teammate Senna by 11 points, despite Senna winning one more race than him. However, only the 11 best results from the season counted toward the championship total, and this gave Senna the title by three points. Prost went on to be a proponent of essentially the 1990s scoring system: all points counting toward the final results, with a race winner scoring 10 (rather than 9).
Prost's battles with Ayrton Senna were particularly notable. The rivalry originated in 1988, when Senna joined Prost at the McLaren team. The most notable event during the season between the two occurred during the Portuguese Grand Prix, where Senna tried to block Prost from taking the lead by forcing the Frenchman to run close to the pit wall at around 280 km/h (174 mph); Prost managed to edge Senna outwards, taking the lead as they went into the first corner but he remained angered by the Brazilian's manoeuvre.
Prost had the firm belief that Honda and Ron Dennis viewed Senna as the future of the team. Prost recalled that by the Italian Grand Prix he had one car with maybe four or five mechanics, while his teammate had two cars and 20 people around him. Before the race Prost, who had announced in July 1989 that he would depart from McLaren, announced he was joining Ferrari. Prost was forced to make a public apology to both McLaren and Honda over his Monza comments. However, Prost received support from Nigel Mansell (who would be his 1990 teammate at Ferrari), and former teammate Rosberg who claimed that once it became known they would not be using the Japanese engines the next season, their Honda engines did not seem to work as well as was once normal. Until that point Prost's MP4/5 had not been a match for Senna's on Monza's long straights, which had many, especially those in the press, wondering if there was actually truth to Prost's claim that his Honda engines were not as good as the ones Senna was able to use. Prost actually won the Italian Grand Prix, after Senna's engine blew with only 9 laps remaining. To the delight of the tifosi whose team he signed for the 1990 season, at the rostrum Prost dropped his driver's trophy into the crowd, to the anger of Dennis who since changed McLaren's policy requiring that all trophies won by drivers belong to the team.
As 1989 wore on, Prost continually claimed his Honda V10s were not producing the same amount of power as those in Senna's car. It actually got to the point where Honda F1 boss Osamu Goto felt compelled to speak to the specialist British media on the matter. He claimed that Senna's foot-tapping style with the accelerator helped keep the RA109-E's revs up in the engine's mid-range where most of the power was, while Prost's smoother style dropped the engines into low revs where they had a pick-up problem. Apparently the talk was convincing until most of those present noticed Goto continually called them Ayrton and Prost respectively (per Japanese customs, addressing a person by their first name rather than the surname shows a much higher degree of familiarity and confidentiality). An example of Prost's claims came during the Mexican Grand Prix. Despite his car running less wing than Senna's which theoretically would give him greater top speed, Prost's McLaren was not able to pass Senna's on the long front straight even though he came off the final Peraltada Curve clearly faster than the Brazilian and also had the benefit of a tow. In stark contrast, late in the race when Senna was lapping Prost (who was on fresh tyres), Senna was easily able to power past Prost on the straight.
During 1989 Prost began to contemplate starting his own team, as his relationship with his McLaren teammate, Ayrton Senna, had turned sour. Prost and John Barnard, formerly chief designer at McLaren, came close to founding a team in 1990; but a lack of sponsorship meant that this was not possible, so Prost moved to Ferrari and Barnard left Ferrari to join Benetton. After falling out with the Italian team at the end of 1991, Prost found himself without a drive for 1992; after the failure of extensive negotiations with Guy Ligier about buying his Ligier team, Prost decided to join Williams for 1993. By 1995, when Prost was working for Renault, people had assumed that a Prost-Renault team would be formed. Renault refused Prost's request to supply engines for his team, ending the speculation.
Prost signed to join Ferrari in 1990, becoming the first driver signed to the team after the death of team founder Enzo Ferrari in 1988. The Frenchman replaced Gerhard Berger at Ferrari and was partnered with Britain's Nigel Mansell for 1990 (Berger took Prost's seat at McLaren). As reigning world champion, Prost took over as the team's lead driver and was said to have played on this status. Mansell recalls one incident where at the 1990 British Grand Prix, the car he drove didn't handle the same as in the previous race where he had taken pole position, and later found out from team mechanics that Prost saw Mansell as having a superior car and had them swapped without Mansell knowing. Prost won five races for Ferrari that year, in Brazil, Mexico, France, Britain and Spain. Notable among these was the Mexican Grand Prix, where he won after starting in 13th position. In both the Mexican and Spanish races, he led Mansell to Ferrari 1–2 finishes. The championship once again came to the penultimate round of the season in Japan with Prost trailing his McLaren adversary, Ayrton Senna, by nine points. As in 1989, a controversial collision between the two settled the race. At the first corner Senna, as admitted a year later, intentionally drove his race car into Prost's, taking them both out of the race and sealing the title in his favour. "What he did was disgusting," Prost said. "He is a man without value." Prost finished the season seven points behind Senna, and his Ferrari team were runners-up to McLaren.
There was another controversial incident in 1991. Prost's inferior Ferrari was unable to put up a challenge regularly to Senna's frontrunning McLaren. At the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, Prost battled Senna for 4th place, but he felt Senna defended too aggressively and at the first chicane forced Prost to take avoiding action by using the escape road. Prost stalled his car rejoining the race. Coincidentally, Senna ran out of fuel on the last lap at the very same point. At the following race, in Hungary, the FIA ordered a sit-down meeting between the two men, keen on not having any repeats of the incidents from the previous two years.
Prost went on a sabbatical year in 1992, which was dominated by Nigel Mansell in a Williams-Renault. Prost performed pre-season testing for Ligier early in 1992 and later turned down an offer to drive for the team. After hearing that Prost would be his teammate again in 1993, Mansell left Williams to race in the CART series. The Frenchman had a clause in his contract which prevented rival Ayrton Senna from joining the team that year. Prost was part of a new-look driver line-up at Williams, with test driver Damon Hill coming in to replace Riccardo Patrese, who had left to join Benetton.
The Frenchman took a sabbatical in 1992 after being fired from Ferrari for publicly criticizing the car and the team, while the Brazilian struggled, for McLaren was no longer competitive with Williams. Prost announced his signing with Williams for the upcoming 1993 season. Senna too had wanted to join Williams, as they were the most competitive, but Prost had a clause in his contract forbidding the Brazilian as a teammate. An infuriated Senna called the Frenchman a "coward" during a press conference at Estoril, and decried his unwillingness to compete for the Drivers' Championship on equal sporting terms:
Prost won his fourth and final title in a year when he was regularly challenged by teammate Hill and by Ayrton Senna. Shortly before the Portuguese Grand Prix in October 1993, Prost announced he would not defend his world title, as the clause in the Frenchman's contract did not extend to 1994 and Senna would be able to join Williams for the upcoming season, and instead opted to retire. At the season's end he held the record for most Grand Prix victories, a record that stood for almost a decade. On the podium in Adelaide in 1993, Prost's last race, he and Senna embraced. Prost was surprised by the gesture, as Senna had declined a handshake at the previous race. Prost's performances earned him an OBE.
During the 1993 season, Prost and Senna continued their on-track rivalry. Prost was escorted by police to the Interlagos circuit for the 1993 Brazilian Grand Prix due to the hostility of Brazilians towards him. The two continued their on-track battles at Silverstone where Senna aggressively defended his position against Prost. At Prost's last Grand Prix, the 1993 Australian Grand Prix, he was pulled up by Senna onto the top step of the podium for an embrace.
On 1 May 1994, Ayrton Senna was killed during the San Marino Grand Prix. Prost was a pallbearer at the Brazilian's funeral. Speaking four years after the Brazilian's death, Prost told Nigel Roebuck that he had "always refused to speak about him". When Senna died, Prost stated that "a part of himself had died also", because their careers had been so bound together. Senna had also felt the same when Prost had retired at the end of 1993, when he admitted to a close friend that he had realised how much of his motivation had come from fighting with Prost. Only a couple of days before his death, when filming an in-car lap of Imola for French television channel TF1, he greeted Prost, by then a pundit on the channel: "A special hello to my...to our dear friend, Alain. We all miss you Alain." Prost said that he was amazed and very touched by the comment.
During 1994 and 1995, Prost worked as TV pundit for the French TV channel TF1. He also worked for Renault as a PR man. Prost went back to his old team McLaren, working as a technical adviser; he also completed L'Etape du Tour, an annual mass-participation bike ride that takes place on a stage of the Tour de France. Although not an official race, riders fight hard for places; Prost finished 12th in his category, 42nd overall out of over 5000 riders.
On 13 February 1997, Prost bought the Ligier team from Flavio Briatore and renamed it "Prost Grand Prix". The day after he bought the team, Prost signed a three-year deal with French car manufacturer Peugeot, who would supply the team with engines from 1998 until 2000. For the team's first season, Prost kept one of Ligier's 1996 drivers, Olivier Panis, who had won the Monaco Grand Prix the previous year; Japanese driver Shinji Nakano was signed to partner Panis. The team raced with the Mugen-Honda engines used by Ligier the previous season, while the car was actually the originally intended Ligier JS45, but was renamed the Prost JS45. Things looked promising at the start of the season, as the team picked up two points on its Grand Prix debut in Australia when Olivier Panis finished fifth. The team scored a further 13 points before Panis broke his leg in an accident during the Canadian Grand Prix. He was replaced by Minardi's Jarno Trulli. From there, things started to go downhill slightly, the team scored only five points during Panis's recovery. The Frenchman came back at the end of the season to race the final three Grand Prix. Prost GP finished sixth in the Constructors' Championship in its first season, with 21 points.
1999 was a crucial year for Prost GP. Prost hired John Barnard as a technical consultant, Barnard's B3 Technologies company helping Loic Bigois and the design of the Prost AP02. Panis and Trulli agreed to stay on with the team for the season. While the car did not prove to be a major concern, the Peugeot V10 engine proved to be heavy and unreliable.
Peugeot's final year as Prost's engine supplier in 2000 saw some optimism, Prost hiring his 1991 Ferrari teammate Jean Alesi to drive the lead car and German Nick Heidfeld, who had won the 1999 Formula 3000 championship, to partner him. The season proved to be yet another disastrous one, with the AP03 proving to be unreliable and ill handling. Things weren't helped when both drivers collided with each other in the Austrian Grand Prix. Newly hired technical director Alan Jenkins was fired midway through the year. Prost restructured the team, hiring Joan Villadelprat as the managing director and replacing Jenkins with Henri Durand as the team's new technical director.
2001 saw some much needed optimism for the team as Ferrari agreed to be the team's engine supplier for the season, the team now moving in the right direction. But the money ran out at the start of the 2002 season and Prost was out of business, leaving debts of around $30 million.
During 2002, Prost spent time with his family and competed in eight bicycle races, finishing third in the Granite – Mont Lozère. The Frenchman raced in the Andros ice race series in 2003, finishing second in the championship behind Yvan Muller; he also became an Ambassador for Uniroyal, a position he would keep until May 2006.
For the 2010 Formula One season, the Sporting Regulations were changed so that a former driver sits on the stewards' panel. Prost was the first such driver to take on this role, at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix. Prost also took part in the Race of Champions in 2010, a race organised for legends of motor sport to compete in equal machinery.
In February 2012, Prost was named as Renault's new international ambassador, representing the company in sports demonstrations and at events organized or attended by Renault.
Prost has finished the Absa Cape Epic, an eight-day 700 km mountain bike race in South Africa, twice. He first completed the race in 2012 with partner Sebastien di Pasqua and then again in 2013, and started but did not finish the race in 2014.
In October 2013, it was announced that Prost would join forces with Jean-Paul Driot's DAMS racing team to form e.dams, a team which would compete in the FIA Formula E Championship for electric racing cars from its commencement in September 2014. In June 2014, the team announced that its initial driver line-up would consist of Nicolas Prost and Sébastien Buemi. The team went on to win the inaugural Formula E teams championship. Since 2017, he was hired as a special adviser for the Renault Formula One Team. Since July 2019, he took non-executive director role with Renault Sport. During the 1000th Formula One race, the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix, Prost had the honor of waving the chequered flag as Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton crossed the line to take his 75th career victory.
Alain's son, Nicolas, was born October 18, 1981 and his second son, Sacha, was born May 30, 1990.
Currently, Alain Prost is 67 years, 9 months and 10 days old. Alain Prost will celebrate 68th birthday on a Friday 24th of February 2023. Below we countdown to Alain Prost upcoming birthday.
Alain Prost celebrated 65th birthday: A look at His Brilliant Career
Formula 1 legend Alain Prost celebrates his 65th birthday today. Prost, one of the greatest F1 drivers of all times won the F1 World Champion 4 times.