Friday, February 24, 2017

"Four-time Formula One Champion" Alain Prost Born - February 24, 1955

February 24, 1955
Alain Prost
(Photo: wikiwand.com)
Born in Lorette, Loire, France.
A four-time Formula One Drivers' Champion. From 1987 until 2001 Prost held the record for most Grand Prix victories. Michael Schumacher surpassed Prost's total of 51 victories at the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix. In 1999, Prost received the World Sports Awards of the Century in the motor sport category.

Prost employed a smooth, relaxed style behind the wheel, deliberately modeling himself on personal heroes like Jackie Stewart and Jim Clark. He was nicknamed "The Professor" for his intellectual approach to competition, though it was a name he did not particularly care for. Skilled at setting up his car for race conditions, Prost would often conserve his brakes and tyres early on in a race, leaving them fresher for a challenge at the end.

Prost discovered karting at the age of 14 during a family holiday. He progressed through motor sport's junior ranks, winning the French and European Formula Three championships, before joining the McLaren Formula One team in 1980 at the age of 24. He finished in the points on his Formula One début in Argentina and took his first race victory at his home Grand Prix in France a year later, driving for the factory Renault team.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Prost formed a fierce rivalry mainly with Ayrton Senna, but also Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell.
(photo credit: Poker d'assi via photopin (license))
Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell e Nelson Piquet
In 1986, at the last race of the season, he beat Mansell and Piquet of Williams to the title after Mansell retired late on in the race, and Piquet was pulled in for a late precautionary pit stop.

Senna joined Prost at McLaren in 1988 and the two had a series of controversial clashes, including a collision at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix that gave Prost his third Drivers' Championship. A year later at the same venue they collided again, but this time Prost, driving for Ferrari, lost out.

Before the end of a winless 1991 season Prost was fired by Ferrari for his public criticism of the team. After a sabbatical in 1992, Prost joined the Williams team, prompting reigning drivers' champion Mansell to leave for CART. With a competitive car, Prost won the 1993 championship and retired from Formula One driving at the end of the year.

In 1997, Prost took over the French Ligier team, running it as Prost Grand Prix until it went bankrupt in 2002. 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.

Prost continued to compete in the Andros Trophy, which is an ice racing championship, winning the title with Toyota in 2006/07, 2007/08 and with Dacia in 2011/2012.

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 Sebastien Buemi. The team went on to win the inaugural Formula E teams championship.

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