Honda website
Honda website

MAY 26, 1997

Friction at Prost

THERE have been suggestions in recent weeks that the relationship between Alain Prost and Mugen Honda has been going through a rocky patch in recent weeks. Prost certainly upset the Japanese with comments about the team's second driver Shinji Nakano, who had been off the pace in relation to Olivier Panis. Prost wanted to replace Nakano with Frenchman Emmanuel Collard but Mugen Honda has the contractual right to choose the team's drivers and blocked the replacement of Nakano.

There have also been unsubstantiated rumors that Peugeot engineers somehow gained access to a Mugen Honda V10 engine, which caused Mugen to threaten to withdraw the engines from the team with immediate effect. Japanese newspapers are reporting that Prost sent a letter of apology to Mugen boss Hirotoshi Honda and that things have settled down with Nakano in for the rest of the season.

It will be interesting to see how much development work is done as the season progresses as the relationship comes to a close at the end of the year and Mugen does not want any knowledge of its engines to leak to Peugeot.