Features - News Feature
NOVEMBER 1, 1993
Alain Prost describes his last Grand Prix
BY ALAIN PROST
"I would have liked to have been on pole position in my last race and I could have done better in qualifying on Friday because we had a few problems. On Saturday the track was not good enough to beat Ayrton's time. I also had some problems with the active suspension. As usual with this kind of car it is very difficult to tell what the problem is. it is very frustrating for the driver because it is difficult to correct. We know we have had a problem for a long time but it needs a lot of work.
"I think the work McLaren has done in the last few weeks is having new programmes on the active suspension on their car. It is much better now. We did not improve. Our car is more or less the same one we had at the beginning of the season, but everyone else has improved.
"But I wasn't really disappointed not to be on pole. I have had 13 poles this year and but as I haven't always won when I started from pole.
"In the drivers briefing all the other drivers applauded me but was difficult or me before the race. I kept thinking that it was the last time I would put on the gloves and everything. If was difficult to keep up my concentration, but the motivation was there. I made a good start, perhaps the best of the year but I was on the wrong side of Ayrton and there was no way I could pass him. I braked a little bit sooner just to try to be behind him into the chicane but there was no way I could overtake.
"I had changed some things on the car after the morning warm-up and I had much stiffer settings. The car was going well but I just had to get used to it. After a few laps when I had warm tyres, everything was working. I think I was just a little bit quicker than him. It was planned for me to stop once. I wanted to stop early but when Ayrton stopped and I was leading I had a lot of traffic and I lost five or six seconds in one lap and then the same on the next. So I was really frustrated because if I had known that I would have stopped immediately. But it did not work out the way I wanted it to. Towards the end the car was jumping a lot and was not as good as at the beginning. Damon was specially quick onto the straight and it was like this year he was quicker in some places and I was quicker in some other places. Overall I think was quicker than him but I started to have problems with the car but I was trying to compete with him. When Damon tried to pass me I did not want him to overtake, but I didn't want to close the door so I kept to the left but braked very very hard. That was a fun moment!
"I thought Ayrton drove a very good race. For sure I would have loved to win it, but I knew it would be difficult today. The end of the season hasn't been easy for us because we lost part of our advantage. I think I had a good race but it was very difficult to go better than that, especially as the track is not an easy one for us. But I am quite happy to finish with a good result and a good race. But it is a very strange feeling for me and I am very tired.
"When you lose a race during the season and you are fighting for the championship then you are disappointed. If it's the last race because it is the last one you do not think about the next one and it is very different.
"I like Adelaide. It is the best design we have in a city. You can overtake and have fun as a driver. I always say that Adelaide 1986 was my best championship and my best win. If I had one photograph to keep with me after my retirement I would keep the picture that was taken then when I was out of the car and I jumped for joy. That was my best memory by far.
"I will miss the technical part of F1 the most, working with the people inside the teams. Outside the teams it was more difficult for me and I won't miss that for sure.
"At the moment there is no prospect of me becoming a Formula 1 team owner. If there is a good possibility... There are plenty of bad possibilities and I don't want to be involved in a bad project.
"Formula 1 is not the end of the world. You can also enjoy different kinds of cars and racing, as long as you have a steering wheel in your hand. But just for fun.
"I'm, still doing a lot of sport. I enjoy a lot of things other than Formula 1. I always enjoy my life, but talking about the pressure I think it's true to say that in F1, things happen a lot in Europe and being French and living in Europe you always get a lot of pressure. So for sure I will feel a little bit more free and my life should be a little bit better. I am quite happy to change and maybe I will be much much happier - or maybe not. I really don't know. For sure it will be different."