20 years since Senna took out Prost at Suzuka

1990 Japanese Grand Prix flashback

One of the most notorious moments in F1 history happened 20 years ago today.

Ayrton Senna clinched the 1990 world championship in a deeply controversial Japanese Grand Prix. He rammed into rival Alain Prost at the first corner at Suzuka, taking both of them out of the race.

For the third year in a row the world championship was between two men: Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. And for the third year in a row the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka decided the outcome of their personal battle.

Senna claimed the 51st pole position of his career, a feat that was central to the weekend’s controversy:

Pole position at Suzuka had been on the right-hand side of the track – off the racing line – for each of the three previous F1 races at the track.

Senna had started there in 1988, bogged down badly, fallen to 14th, yet recovered to win the race and the drivers’ title.

He started there again in 1989 and as he struggled for grip at the start Prost charged into the lead from second place. Senna caught and tried to pass his rival at the chicane later in the race, but Prost swerved into the side of Senna’s car, taking both out, denying Senna the championship.

Before qualifying for the 1990 race had even begun, Senna lobbied track officials for pole position to be moved to the left and onto the racing line. He believed he’d got their consent – but after claiming pole position he was told he would start from the right-hand side of the track once again.

Senna saw the hand of FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre in the decision. The same person he blamed for his disqualification from the 1989 race, after he had disentangled his car from Prost’s and driven through the run-off at the chicane to re-join the track.

In the drivers’ briefing before the 1990 race the drivers were told they would not be disqualified for using the run-off at the chicane, as Senna had 12 months previously. He stormed out of the room:

1990 Japanese Grand Prix grid

Row 1 1. Ayrton Senna 1’36.996
McLaren-Honda
2. Alain Prost 1’37.228
Ferrari
Row 2 3. Nigel Mansell 1’37.719
Ferrari
4. Gerhard Berger 1’38.118
McLaren-Honda
Row 3 5. Thierry Boutsen 1’39.324
Williams-Renault
6. Nelson Piquet 1’40.049
Benetton-Ford
Row 4 7. Riccardo Patrese 1’40.355
Williams-Renault
8. Roberto Moreno 1’40.579
Benetton-Ford
Row 5 9. Aguri Suzuki 1’40.888
Lola-Lamborghini
10. Pierluigi Martini 1’40.899
Minardi-Ford
Row 6 11. Derek Warwick 1’41.024
Lotus-Lamborghini
12. Ivan Capelli 1’41.033
Leyton House-Judd
Row 7 13. Satoru Nakajima 1’41.078
Tyrrell-Ford
14. Johnny Herbert 1’41.588
Lotus-Lamborghini
Row 8 15. Mauricio Gugelmin 1’41.698
Leyton House-Judd
16. ?âÔÇ?ric Bernard 1’41.709
Lola-Lamborghini
Row 9 17. Nicola Larini 1’42.339
Ligier-Ford
18. Emanuele Pirro 1’42.361
Dallara-Ford
Row 10 19. Gianni Morbidelli 1’42.364
Minardi-Ford
20. Philippe Alliot 1’42.593
Ligier-Ford
Row 11 21. Stefano Modena 1’42.617
Brabham-Judd
22. David Brabham 1’43.156
Brabham-Judd
Row 12 23. Alex Caffi 1’43.270
Arrows-Ford
24. Michele Alboreto 1’43.304
Arrows-Ford
Row 13 25. Andrea de Cesaris 1’43.601
Dallara-Ford

Jean Alesi, Tyrrell-Ford, qualified seventh but withdrew from the race weekend due to injuries sustained in an accident during practice.

Did not qualify

14. Olivier Grouillard, Osella-Ford – 1’43.782
17. Gabriele Tarquini, AGS-Ford – 1’44.281
18. Yannick Dalmas, AGS-Ford – 1’44.410
31. Bertrand Gachot, Coloni-Ford – 1’45.393

Over in nine seconds

As the race started Prost instantly pulled ahead of Senna and into the lead. Senna briefly tucked in behind his rival.

Turn one came up on them quickly. Prost moved towards the middle of the track, then feinted back to the left as Senna lined himself up for a look at the inside.

Prost lifted the throttle and turned into the corner. Senna slammed into his right-rear wheel at a speed of no less than 130mph, probably much higher.

The two wrecked cars hurtled into the gravel trap where they were briefly obscured by a cloud of grit. As the dust settled two figures climbed from their cars and made their way back to the pits separately.

Senna asked: “They’re not stopping the race, are they?” and was told they weren’t. With that, he was the 1990 world champion.

A race to forget

As lap two started the other McLaren of Gerhard Berger joined Senna’s in the gravel trap at turn one. Berger, who had inherited the lead, slid sideways off the track and out of the race.

That promoted Nigel Mansell into the lead. He ran around at the head of the field unchallenged for the first half of the race, gradually leaving Nelson Piquet’s Benetton behind.

The only prospect of a competition for the lead arose from the fact that Mansell would have to change tyres and Piquet, who had started on a harder compound, wouldn’t (there was no requirement to use two compounds of tyre during a race then).

But Mansell never made it out of the pits after coming in on lap 27. Once again, the Ferrari’s semi-automatic transmission let him down.

His ninth retirement from 15 starts ended Ferrari’s hopes of winning the constructors’ championship. For the third consecutive season the trophy went to McLaren.

Piquet now held an unchallenged lead. Alesi, who had been due to start behind the Benetton driver, was left to wonder what might have been.

Behind Piquet was his new team mate Roberto Moreno, who had been drafted into Benetton after Alessandro Nannini lost his arm in a helicopter accident.

Moreno had spent the year up to that point campaigning the hopeless EuroBrun, qualifying just twice in 14 attempts, and admitted it had been quite an adjustment to get used to the higher levels of downforce the B190 offered.

The Brazilian driver wept after taking the chequered flag behind his compatriot. Piquet’s victory ended his own three-year win drought and headed Benetton’s first one-two.

The early demise of the two Honda-powered cars did not end local interest in the race. Aguri Suzuki took the final podium place, the first Japanese driver ever to finish in the top three in a world championship event.

The Lola driver used his extensive local knowledge of Suzuka to qualify ninth on the grid. He picked off Derek Warwick early in the race and, running to the end without making a pit stop, inherited places from both the Williams drivers to claim third.

Satoru Nakajima made it two Japanese drivers in the points by bringing his Tyrrell home sixth.

1990 Japanese Grand Prix result

Pos Car Driver Team Laps Difference
1 20 Nelson Piquet Benetton-Ford 53
2 19 Roberto Moreno Benetton-Ford 53 7.223
3 30 Aguri Suzuki Lola-Lamborghini 53 22.469
4 6 Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 53 36.258
5 5 Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault 53 46.884
6 3 Satoru Nakajima Tyrrell-Ford 53 1’12.350
7 25 Nicola Larini Ligier-Ford 52 1 Lap
8 23 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 52 1 Lap
9 10 Alex Caffi Arrows-Ford 52 1 Lap
10 26 Philippe Alliot Ligier-Ford 52 1 Lap
11 Derek Warwick Lotus-Lamborghini 38
12 Johnny Herbert Lotus-Lamborghini 31
9 Michele Alboreto Arrows-Ford 28
2 Nigel Mansell Ferrari 26
21 Emanuele Pirro Dallara-Ford 24
29 ?âÔÇ?ric Bernard Lola-Lamborghini 24
24 Gianni Morbidelli Minardi-Ford 18
16 Ivan Capelli Leyton House-Judd 16
22 Andrea de Cesaris Dallara-Ford 13
15 Mauricio Gugelmin Leyton House-Judd 5
7 David Brabham Brabham-Judd 2
28 Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda 1
27 Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 0
1 Alain Prost Ferrari 0

The aftermath of the crash

What drove Senna to commit one of the most outrageous acts ever witnessed in Formula 1? His frustration with the sport’s governing body – Balestre the focus of his fury – combined with a growing sense of desperation that the championship was slipping away from him.

The Ferrari F1-90 had clearly been quicker than the McLaren MP4-5B in the previous two races.

Senna knew he had been fortunate to take points off Prost at Estoril. At Jerez Prost had out-manoeuvred Senna in the pits, driven away from him on the track, and to make matters worse a damaged radiator left Senna point-less.

Heading into the two remaining races Senna had a nine-point lead over Prost in the championship. There were nine points available for a win, then 6-4-3-2-1 for the remaining places, but drivers could only count their 11 best scores, making the situation more complicated.

It’s likely two things were weighing on Senna’s mind: if Prost won both the remaining races, there was nothing Senna could do to stop him from being champion.

But if Prost failed to finish one of the remaining races, Senna would definitely be champion.

It’s not hard to imagine how the row over the location of pole position affected Senna’s state of mind. As he walked back to the pits following the crash he told reporters that was the reason why the collision had happened:

When F1 returned to Suzuka in 1991 pole position had been moved to the left-hand side of the track. Senna won his third world championship that weekend, and in the press conference afterwards launched into a tirade against Balestre:

I said to myself, “OK, you try to work cleanly, and you get ****** by certain people. All right, if tomorrow Prost beats me off the line, at the first corner, I will go for it and he better not turn in because he’s not going to make it.” And it just happened.
Ayrton Senna

Following the Suzuka collision in 1990 a furious Balestre told the world:

It is a scandal that a world championship should be decided on such a collision and I leave everyone to be their own judge of who is to blame.
Jean-Marie Balestre

It’s true that what Senna did to Prost in 1990 only differed to what Prost did to Senna in 1989 by degrees. In principle, Prost’s actions were every bit as cynical as Senna’s.

And by allowing Prost to go unpunished after taking Senna out of the 1989 title-decider, what could FISA do about Senna in 1990? According to Balestre, nothing:

Last year the race stewards disqualified Senna because he cut short a chicane. This time, they told me on the telephone, that there were no elements to allow Senna’s disqualification.
Jean-Marie Balestre

The governing body’s failure to act against a championship-deciding crash in 1989 left them powerless in 1990.

More followed in later years, courtesy of Michael Schumacher, in 1994 and (unsuccessfully) again in 1997. Since then Balestre’s successor Max Mosley has suggested the FIA would step in were it to happen again but that has not yet been put to the test.

The extreme tactics Senna was prepared to used to win the world championship – risking his own life as well as Prost’s and potentially others’ – was not lost on his arch-rival, who said:

I’m not prepared to fight against irresponsible people who are not afraid to die.
Alain Prost

The horrendous consequences which Senna’s actions could have had were demonstrated in a tragic crash two years later.

Hitoshi Ogawa and Andrew Gilbert-Scott collided at the same corner during a Japanese Formula 3000 race in 1992, at comparable speeds to Senna and Prost, perhaps a shade higher.

Ogawa was killed when his car was launched over the barrier. Gilbert-Scott, a cameraman and two photographers were also injured.

On many other days Senna’s otherworldly driving ability – not to mention his intense personal charisma – won him legions of supporters. His greatest drives have inspired a further generation of fans since his death.

But there was a dark side to his character which the events of October 21st 1990 make impossible to ignore.

His life is the subject of a new film documentary, already released in Japan, which is due to open in many other countries next year. Surely the most difficult chapter of his life to relate is the actions that made him the 1990 world champion.

Did you see this race?

Were you at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix? Did you watch it live? If so, please tell us about it in the comments.

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137 comments on 20 years since Senna took out Prost at Suzuka

  1. Speckled Jim said on 21st October 2010, 12:57

    Cracking article mate well done you.

    Yeah I remember this one. Even then Senna was my top driver but I didn’t cheer for him that day. I was looking forward to watching the race more than anything and after the first corner it was like “oh, that will be that then”. Prost (mostly) always was a better sportsman than Ayrton but thats not what I was looking for at the time. Senna had not only huge ability but was completely fearless. His talent was enough but couple that with a total, almost blind commitment to driving a racing car and you have something special. That incident was uncalled for, he should not have done it. Not winning that championship would not have mattered to that fifteen year old lad sat on his bed watching F1 at its best. He would still have been my hero.

  2. Alex Bkk said on 21st October 2010, 13:49

    Yes I saw both live on TV… Prost taking out Senna, and Senna taking out Prost. I was a Prost, Ferrari fan and the DQ for Senna seemed fair enough to me. I think the Drivers Briefing video sort of says it all for me. I was a bit shocked by Senna taking out Prost. It felt about the same when Schumacher took out Hill.

    Senna going over to Williams was a bit of stake in the heart for me.(Prost left) But, I was on a pretty high note during the first bit of the 94 season as Senna had scored no points and when he went off at Tamburello, I yelled yes! It wasn’t for several laps that I began to regret that…

    The Med Car had pulled up, he was still in the Williams and not moving. Then the cover screens came up… lap after sickly lap I watched and my stomach sunk, I knew it was serious.

    My 6 year old sun was a Senna fan, because well, I was a Prost fan.(father son rivalry) He was raised getting up at 5am Pacific time to watch the European rounds with me. He was sleeping that morning during the crash. He awoke and I told him that Senna had crashed and it didn’t look good. He somehow seemed to understand. It was a bit later in the day that Senna’s death was announced.

    What was odd was that he became a MSC fan after that… and MSC punted Hill into the wall.. go figure? I was a Hill fan.

    In retrospect… I knew how good Senna was and it was frightening, he’d do anything to win. It was the same with MSC. I think the same can be said of Prost in a different way. Keith had a stab at it, but it just doesn’t cut to the bone and marrow as with Senna and MSC.

    It’s the kind of attitude that I love and loathe at the same time. Look again at the drivers briefing… should actually be called a debriefing to be honest… Piquet a WDC says it…and it happens. It’s a bit ruthless isn’t it.

    Too be honest… I think that Vettel Hamilton, Webber and Alonso have a bit of that in them, and I like it!

  3. qazuhb said on 21st October 2010, 13:58

    I remember it, but not so well as the 1989 race. I was a young Senna fan then, and his comeback after Prost collided him and he lost so much time at the pits was just epic, to the degree that it has completely wiped out the memories of his “14th to 1st” the previous year from my mind. So when Ayrton’s 1990 retaliation came, I believed it was just right, I hated so much Balestre and Prost that it felt the perfect thing to do at the moment.
    But many years after, I can say now it was plain wrong and can generally agree with what is being said in the majority of the posts here. And while my favourite drivers will ever be in the Senna style (Villeneuve, Ayrton, Hamilton), I do now really appreciate the “opposed” type of driving (Reutemann, Prost, Button), and reckon Alain Prost was one of the greatest of all time with ease.

  4. SENNAMARQUE said on 21st October 2010, 14:05

    Hi , very nice article.
    I remember getting up very early that Sunday morning to watch it with my dad, and he went to go make us some coffee, I remember shouting to him that its about to start, he shouted back, he’ll be there soon, I then shouted back to him, “dont worry it’s all over, they’ve just taken each other out”, he rushed in just to see the dust settling….
    Just one of those unforgettable memories I have….

  5. Speckled Jim said on 21st October 2010, 14:19

    You know something, I really enjoy posting and reading others posts on this site. Everyone has there own opinions but they are still fair and open minded. I’ts a pleasure to be amongst other real motorsport fans. Good on ya guys. Any other site is ****** handbags at dawn! Lol

  6. Why linking Senna with unrelated accident caused by unexperienced Japanese driver in front of his home public? I fail to see other links than just the same corner, sorry.

    I believe Senna was trying to aggresively overtake Prost, but in such a way that if triggered accident – it was Prost to worry. In other words – Senna tried to overtake not to make collision, but he had nothing against collision as well.
    It’s importnant on tv replays that they were entering the corner side by side, Senna didn’t “slam” in Prost as written here.

    Prost seeing Senna on his side after what seemed won start reacted too agressively trying to prevent Senna overtaking him, and this way allowed himself to get provoked into the collision and loss of the title.

    Then Senna was just saying that this accident was fair from his point of view.
    Despite Senna’s words justifying prospect of such accident, I still think this was quite unlikely he could plan it, because simply it’s next to impossible to “plan” such accidents in F1 especially during always unpredictable starts. Senna could be well first in the first corner or far away in the back.

    Exmple of Schumacher – the routine master of dirty tricks – suggest that making such accidents looking as innocent is virtually impossible.
    I believe Senna was going his way – trying to win the race and title, not to make collision as his main plan.

    I was watching this race – it was my first season ever with F1 and I was fan of Prost. I had no idea about the context, though and now I think it was really fair for Senna that he become the champion, though I don’t like he provoked the accident while with his skills he was able to win.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 21st October 2010, 15:45

      In other words – Senna tried to overtake not to make collision, but he had nothing against collision as well.

      He later admitted that if Prost got into that turn ahead of him, then he would crash into him.

      It’s importnant on tv replays that they were entering the corner side by side, Senna didn’t “slam” in Prost as written here.

      At the very best, Senna got wheel to sidepod with Prost, and didn’t even lift for the corner having run across a kerb. As a result, he clearly slammed into Prost.

      Prost seeing Senna on his side after what seemed won start reacted too agressively trying to prevent Senna overtaking him, and this way allowed himself to get provoked into the collision and loss of the title.

      Prost won’t have been able to see someone at his sidepod. It was Prost’s corner, and he was taking it as normal.

      Exmple of Schumacher – the routine master of dirty tricks – suggest that making such accidents looking as innocent is virtually impossible.

      It is hard, and that’s why most people here could see that Senna intentionally hit Prost.

      • quote: He later admitted that if Prost got into that turn ahead of him, then he would crash into him.

        He couldn’t control how Prost would start. Planning things this way would be very very risky plan.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 21st October 2010, 17:13

          He couldn’t control how Prost would start. Planning things this way would be very very risky plan.

          Yes, and if Prost hadn’t got into the corner ahead of Senna, then Senna wouldn’t have tried anything. But Alain did, and as a result Aryton took that dangerous risk with his own and his fellow driver’s lives.

          • Antifia said on 21st October 2010, 17:30

            This is a bit melodramatic, isn’t it? The very nature of the accident made it sure that they cleared the road way before anybody else could be affected by it. When it comes to Prost or Senna himself, there is mile of gravel on the outside of that curve – nobody got close to get hurt in that “accident”.

  7. Josef said on 21st October 2010, 15:56

    Rampante, I agree with the point you make about intentionally taking out another driver not being ok, but I don’t see what that has to do with modern F1 being more sterile than F1 pre 1996, sterility and taking people out is like comparing apples with pears, I like much more the attitude of the past drivers and the more ‘normal’ feeling that people involved in F1 used to have back then, perhaps just leaving out the violent driving tactics, I don’t think dirty driving has anything to do with the sport being less sterile, look at MotoGP for example…

    Alex Bkk, you mention the Austrian flag Senna had in his cockpit the day he died, like you said he did have feelings but I disagree with you when you say he didn’t have any when it got in the way of the way he drove, I think he always cared about other people’s well-being, but I think once he was in the car he only thought about winning, I think there is a small difference there if you see what I mean, I honestly do believe that whilst he did some pretty dangerous stuff to win, I don’t think he did it out of a lack of caring about other drivers, but rather more out of a lack of self-control if you can put it that way…

    • Alex Bkk said on 21st October 2010, 19:02

      Yes, I see what you are saying Josef… I just see it a little bit differently ;) I could also be just a bit prejudiced and still on my high prancing horse even after all these years. Thing is whenever I’m asked about the top F1 drivers of my life time, and that covers quite a bit of F1 history… Senna’s name is always in the mix.

      Cheers.

  8. Antifia said on 21st October 2010, 16:25

    Keith, if my memory serves me well, the pole in Suzuka had always been on the left-hand side prior to 1990 and has been on the same side after that. I also remember that in 1990 the pole place had not been put in the right-hand side prior to quali – it had been left open. After quali, and with Senna having got the pole, Balestre, for the only time in that circuit’s history, decided that the pole guy on the dirty side of the track. I can quite understand why Senna went mad with that. He would not let the Prost/Ballestre duo cheat him again.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st October 2010, 16:37

      Keith, if my memory serves me well, the pole in Suzuka had always been on the left-hand side prior to 1990 and has been on the same side after that.

      In the F1 races in 1987, 1988 and 1989 pole position was on the right-hand side, as in 1990. In 1991 it was on the left.

      • Antifia said on 21st October 2010, 17:14

        I stand corrected, Keith. But I still have a recolection that the organizers changed the side of the pole in 1989 after the quali – or do I remember it wrong too?

  9. sumedh said on 21st October 2010, 17:31

    Keith, this might be your best article ever. And it trumps even the behind-the-scenes article about the Jerez testing. And incredibly brave of you as well to not paint Senna in an innocent light, since after Senna passed away in 1994, I think all writers have been scared of doing anything apart from elevating Senna to a demi-God status.

    This article portrays the true picture of Senna IMO. He was no different than other controversial WDCs like Schumacher, Prost, Alonso or Hamilton.

  10. Damon said on 21st October 2010, 17:44

    Just imagine if senna was alive and in his prime he probably wouldn’t be quick enough to get in to any of the top teams. Brindle stated that schumacer was quicker than senna and just look at how poor schumacer is doing against one of the young guns

    • Antifia said on 22nd October 2010, 8:39

      You must be kidding. Senna not good enough to trounce the likes of Webber and Button (and Alonso, for that matter)? You probably have been watching F1 for a year or two now. By the way, during the time Senna and MS run together in F1, Senna won 10 races and MS only 4…. Brundle likes to be negative about Senna because Senna cleaned the floor with him. And Schumacher is doing so poorly because he 41, for crying out loud! What one calls talent (not what you learn, but the part that is brought by your genes) in racing can be simply described as fast reflexes and hand-eye cordination. Both start to go down in your late 20s – by your 40s you are hopelessly handcaped.

  11. 20 yearsago….wow wheres that gone! this really proves what sport can do memory wise!! i can remember this like yesterday shame my employer can not stir so much memory recall, i would be a rich man!
    really though this could happen on the weekend 5 (3 really) contenders first corner…vettel vs webber….alonso vs lewis.???????can’t wait – anyone got pro plus

  12. Scott Joslin said on 21st October 2010, 21:54

    Suzuka 1990 was a watershed race for myself, having only really seriously followed F1 in 1989 (I was 9yrs old in 89) Suzuka 1990 was the return showdown.

    At the time I probably didn’t have the intellectual understanding why Senna and Prost were such great drivers, for all I cared about back then was worrying why an Englishman in Nigel Mansell was never winning world titles. But I understood their had been bad blood between them, that when I saw the incident at the time I can remember thinking – well that was always going to happen. I expected Senna to take Prost out in a cynical move not because it was Senna and his complex make-up, but because I felt that was the stuff that was accepted in F1 in that Era.

    I know Schumacher makes reference to it in James Allen’s book, and by the way, I am not saying it makes it ok, but there wasn’t the uproar there was back then that a driver would get today for such a disgraceful standards.

    I’ve often though, what if Senna hadn’t drove in to Prost and it had been Mansell or Piquet in that race would there have been an immediate condemnation of the incident and direct action and I think – yes. Because it was Prost and because there was so much history between them and that Prost had turned in to the moaning old wife of the couple, that F1 people almost didn’t take it serious enough.

    I know Senna got his knuckles wrapped during the winter by having his licence endorsed, but if Alonso drove in to the side of Hamilton in a similar situation today, I feel the penalty and mass condemnation from the FIA and F1 world would be huge.

    Going back to the fact the race being a pivotal moment in my fascination in the sport, the conclusion to the 1990 season at Suzuka made me realise that the rivalries in F1 have a massive pull and lead to dramatic effects spilling out on to the track – It wasn’t just talking, it was actions. This fashioned my interest and by 1991 everything else faded in to insignificance.

    Shame though as the race would have been a belter had it gone past turn 1.

  13. Jorens Roderik said on 22nd October 2010, 1:11

    Thanks for the website, the articles and the insights Keith, I’ve been reading it quite often now. In regards of the 1990 move from Senna, I was going to say something along the lines of “fair game should always be on top” but I thought about it and when you are a top game and your whole being is defined by winning, my motivations and attitude would probably be different. I can see the reasons for Senna to react that way and still respect him as a driver.

  14. José Baudaier said on 22nd October 2010, 1:40

    I was young but I remember watching it, just the first lap I must say. The race was like 2 or 3 a.m. and I was very young at the time so I just went to bed after a few minutes celebrating, but it was a very happy sleep. Followed by a very happy sunday too.

  15. Comparing Suzuka 89 and 90 is not fair. To me it was a 50/50 in 89. 1990 was ridiculous and I simply do not understand how Senna’s fans can still defend what he did. Maybe they watch Motorsport but they’ve clearly never taken part in it ?
    If Senna had been such a better driver than Prost, I guess he would still be alive, but unfort. his approach to racing, risk taking and absolute faith in himself may have been a contributing factor in his sad and regretable death. On the other hand, Prost may thank his instinct of self-preservation for the fact that he is still around.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd October 2010, 9:55

      To me it was a 50/50 in 89.

      If you mean it was a racing incident, then I don’t agree. Prost clearly chose to take Senna out.

      If you mean it wasn’t as bad because he did it at a much slower speed, then I agree.

      • Prost chose to take Senna out ? Or Senna chose to try a manoeuvre that was never gonna stick ? Watch the video again Keith (although you must have watched quite a few times already!), Senna actually never even managed to be in front of Prost’s car and chose to aim for the kerb and never even considered turning in (not that he could have turned in anyway, or he would clearly have lost front grip, being roughly 10 km/h too fast to make the corner). I don’t think there was ever any premeditation from Prost, he just defended the corner fairly. I think there was clear premeditation by Senna in 90.

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