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Alain Prost - Nasty Rivalry With Teammate

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In the years since Prost had abandoned the team, McLaren had taken on new management and was fast becoming a competitive force in F1. Teamless, Prost had little bargaining power to resist an offer from the team's ambitious new director, Ron Dennis. Dennis hired Prost as partner to Niki Lauda for a reported $500,000 season retainer, a pittance in F1. McLaren's new turbo V6 engine by Porsche proved to be a competitive move for the team. Prost had accumulated six wins and Lauda five coming into the final Grand Prix of the 1984 season, in Portugal. Prost went into the race knowing that even if he won, and Lauda came in second, Lauda would win the World Championship by one-half a point. Prost took an early lead in the race, while Lauda got caught behind in the middle of the pack. Lauda was persistent, however, and managed to finish the race in second behind Prost, winning the Championship. Prost was near tears when he took the podium. In a show of incredibly good-natured sportsmanship and compassion, Lauda remarked to Prost, "Forget it. Next year, the Championship is yours," according to Grand Prix Champions by Alan Henry. Even Lauda knew the Championship could just as easily have gone to Prost.

Lauda was right. Prost won both the 1985 and 1986 World Championships, becoming the first driver to retain a title since Jack Brabham in 1960. Prost won his twenty-eighth career race in 1987, beating Jackie Stewart's 1973 record, but falling short of the Championship. McClaren came back the next year with a more competitive turbo engine, and Prost found himself driving alongside Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, whose mission to best his teammate fueled one of the bitterest rivalries in motorsports. There was no friendly competition between the teammates. Senna was aggressive and impulsive on the track and beat Prost to the 1988 World Championship with eight wins to seven. While Senna thrived on the confrontational rivalry, Prost did not. The fire was stoked further when Prost won the 1989 World Championship after the two McLarens collided during the penultimate race of the season, in Suzuka, Japan, taking Senna out of Championship contention.

Alain Prost - Retired With World Record [next] [back] Alain Prost - Awards And Accomplishments

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