Alain Prost vs Niki Lauda

Champion of Champions

Champion of Champions: Alain Prost vs Niki Lauda

The second Champion of Champions quarter-final features two drivers who were team mates at McLaren for two years.

During their time together Niki Lauda won his final championship title in 1984 and Alain Prost claimed his first the following year.

These are also both drivers took time out of the sport and made successful comebacks.

It looked like Lauda had quit for good when he told Bernie Ecclestone he was leaving Brabham as practice began at Montreal in 1979. He had already agreed terms to continue driving for the team, and his change of mind potentially cost him two years in cars capable of winning the championship.

Ron Dennis convinced Lauda to make a comeback with McLaren in 1982. He won twice in his first year back and once McLaren arranged a deal to use Porsche turbo power he was on his way to world title number three.

It came after a season-long battle with Prost which Lauda won by the smallest-ever margin of half a point. The following season Lauda was dogged by unreliability and retired for good.

Prost’s 1992 sabbatical and 1993 comeback was characteristic of his approach to the sport. He bided his time until the seat he wanted at Williams became available. When he got his hands on the car he emulated Lauda by winning a title on his return.

And both can also talk about championship near-misses. Lauda’s terrible crash at the Nurburgring in 1976 arguably cost him the title that year.

And 1984 wasn’t Prost’s first or last taste of missing out on the title by a small margin: he lost to Nelson Piquet by two points the previous season and was runner-up to Ayrton Senna in 1988 and 1990

So these are two champions with a lot in common. But which of these drivers should go through to the Champion of Champions semi-finals?

Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Alain Prost Niki Lauda
Alain Prost Niki Lauda
Titles 1985, 1986, 1989, 1993 1975. 1977, 1984
Second in title year/s Michele Alboreto, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Ayrton Senna Emerson Fittipaldi, Jody Scheckter, Alain Prost
Teams McLaren, Renault, Ferrari, Williams March, BRM, Ferrari, Brabham, McLaren
Notable team mates Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell Carlos Reutemann, Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost
Starts 199 171
Wins 51 (25.63%) 25 (14.62%)
Poles 33 (16.58%) 24 (14.04%)
Modern points per start1 12.48 7.85
% car failures2 16.58 34.50
Modern points per finish3 14.96 11.99
Notes Lost ’83 title by two points and ’84 title by half a point Badly burned in 1976 crash, withdrew from title-deciding race in heavy rain
Controversial clash with Senna sealed third title Clinched second title for Ferrari in 1977 then left team
Returned from sabbatical to clinch fourth title with Williams Ended two-year retirement to return to McLaren and win third title
Bio Alain Prost Niki Lauda

1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure

Round two

Round one

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Alain Prost (79%)
  • Niki Lauda (22%)

Total Voters: 630

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Read the F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions introduction for more information and remember to check back tomorrow for the next round.

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Images ?? Honda (Prost), Gary Faulkenberry (Lauda)

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78 comments on Alain Prost vs Niki Lauda

  1. debaser91 said on 26th January 2011, 16:41

    In the modern points system all results count. That was what I was trying to say.

    Therefore if the modern points system was applied to back then (i.e all results rather than 11 best scores) then Prost would have been champion in ’84 and ’88.

    • Roberto said on 26th January 2011, 17:36

      Actually all results counted in 84, so Lauda would have won anyway. 1988 was the only year in F1 History where the driver who scored most points didn’t get the title.

      but i do agree Prost only lost the 84 title due to bad luck.

      Its also clear how Prost learned from Lauda. In 84 Prost won 7 races, while Lauda won 5. Lauda also had more DNF, but he won because he was more consistent than Prost, and, apart a 4 place, he only got wins and 2nds.

      That’s the same situation Prost saw himself in 88, winning 1 race less, but being far more consistent than Senna. However, the 11 best system prevented him from getting the title

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 26th January 2011, 16:53

    I went for Lauda for him overcoming that accident and returning for another WDC with McLaren. But I expect Prost to win this and actually hope he can take it to the final round.

  3. DavidS (@davids) said on 26th January 2011, 17:16

    Very hard choice, both of them are exceptional drivers…The edge goes to Prost however.

  4. Noelinho (@noelinho) said on 26th January 2011, 17:37

    For me, Prost is quite possibly the most complete driver ever in Formula 1.

  5. Hyoko said on 26th January 2011, 19:02

    Prost of course. Even tho Lauda is one of the very best (but not THE champ of champs).

    I’ve been watching F1 since the Jackie Stewart days, so I can’t say much about Fangio or Jim Clark. But in the last 40 years Prost gets my vote as the absolute best. That includes of course Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher (my candidates for 2nd and 3rd).

  6. babis1980 (@babis1980) said on 26th January 2011, 20:31

    In stats Prost wins. More wins, more poles. In rivalry Lauda wins. He beat Prost when they were teammates. In total championshis Prost wins. 4 to 3. But in my mind I know….Lauda is the winner. Maybe the accident played a role in my decision … I don’t know. My gutt tells me that he will be the one that will move on to the next stage.

  7. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 26th January 2011, 23:53

    I think it says it all that Lauda beat Prost when he was still young by a very thin margin and the next year Prost trounced him. There’s so much more to the comparison than this but for me this is the essence of why Prost got my vote.

  8. nillojapa (@nillojapa) said on 27th January 2011, 1:06

    I think in Alain Prost X Ayrton Senna or M. Schumacher X Ayrton Senna.
    I don’t know for the others, but Senna is the best

  9. YoungGuns (@youngguns) said on 27th January 2011, 2:31

    this poles is getting harder and harder had to go with the professor in the end

  10. McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 27th January 2011, 8:49

    Has to be Prost

  11. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 27th January 2011, 9:32

    quite easy this one. the professor. very successful, wasn’t a car breaker and was a fair, clean racer. the only glaring blip i remember was when he binned it on the formation lap in the rain at imola in the early 90’s

  12. Prost, even though I really disliked him when I was younger and got into a fight about his name being Frost haha.

  13. Speckled Jim (@) said on 27th January 2011, 12:47

    Go Niki. Mega fast, crashed and burned, came back and won another WDC. Prost, Mega fast, had HE crashed and burned he would have cried and never gotten into a racing car ever again. (Stop the race its raining is a good enough example IMO) Lauda gets my vote, driving while still bleeding and in enormous pain from terrible burns. A true champion, between him and Prost anyway.

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