F1: A sit down session with Alain Prost

F1: A sit down session with Alain Prost

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
26 Sep 2013

OS: So how does next year's turbo engines compare to those from your era?

It is a completely different technology. I mean obviously engine part and mechanical part is similar even if we had 2 turbos. Everything you know - temperature, turbo, and even the turbo by itself is quite a big one(change).But u cannot judge only this part(engine), without thinking of the second part. It is going to be a completely different technology. For example if you produce too much heat, too much vibration,it is not going to work. So it is a different way(of thinking) and it is typical of F1 and of motor racing. You cannot only think of one single part. It's always the combination of everything. If you make an engine that runs at 80 degrees, it is impossible to make a good chassis, because you are going to need to use big radiators, and for the aerodynamics that is not going to work. You always have interactivity. That's why we cannot compare too much the two types of engines.

Prost:



The advancement of technology. Almost every year we had new improvements but we reached a level that they(FIA) had to, and this is also for financial reasons, stop the innovation. For example on the engine, they have decided to stop the development and stop the revs even if we can go much, much higher with this type of engine. Maybe that (the restrictions) is the main difference but everything else is more advanced. Again, each different point in the car, the aerodynamics, braking, and the way we understand about the way the car works, in terms of the combination of mechanical parts and the aerodynamics. If you look at the gearbox today, ok we had the same type of gearbox that we used in the 1990s, but the speed, performance and the reliability. Reliability is maybe one of the best and biggest difference. You mentioned the turbo cars.There were one or two years that we finished only 5 out of the 12,13 or 14 races (1981) It was a huge problem with reliability, but today, we have almost 100% reliability, which is quite a big difference. The biggest part is the electronics. The old electronics are unlike what we have today. We are talking about a period in the first turbo era where we did not have that mobile telephone (points to mobile phones in front of him), so you can imagine what we have today in terms of information, and the telemetry. If you look at the back of the stands, all the engineers - chassis, gearbox, engine, fuel and everything can read anything that is happening on the car. Tyres, temperatures. We never had that before. All things are improving all the time.

OS: So what are the biggest changes between the two eras of cars?
Prost:

OS:  Who will you choose to be your teammate if you could pair up with a current driver?

Well, it's a good generation of drivers. If you are talking about personality, maybe guys like Jenson or Mark, because they are a little bit closer to me in terms of generation. But with regards to skill, there are many good ones out there like Sebastian, Lewis, Fernando, Kimi. All these guys are very good, so it can be quite interesting if we team up.

Prost:



In motorsports? There are a lot of good women driving very well. In the past, there are a lot of good women driving rally cars, but in F1 we never really had a top woman driver. It is always difficult to judge as the number of women in the beginning that want to do motor racing or f1 is very poor, so the chance you can have a woman is obviously much, much less. And then you have a physical problem, the physical power, strength that you can see in all kinds of sports. It is understandable, you know when you reach the top level in F1, it may be a little problem. We still don’t know exactly, again, because we never had a top female F1 driver. There should be a woman that takes care of other women, just like senna who took care of younger drivers, but we never had this kind of possibility, so it is always a sort of question mark. For me the physical problem could be one difficult issue.

OS:  What do you think about women in motorsports?
Prost:



It is never impossible, because he has done a good job in the last 2 years, and spent a lot of time on the simulator. But being a development driver, he is very focused, and it is a different way of working and it is very good for the team. Being a race driver is going to be another different thing, with qualifying 1 lap or doing the start, (or) even if he races in endurance or other types of races. So it is 2 different things and I realised it and he knows it himself that it will be difficult for him to be chosen by the team but you never know.

OS:  I understand that your son is currently a test driver for an F1 team. How is he going with
that? Might there be a spot for him next year?
Prost:

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