Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, McLaren, Adelaide, 1988

Prost explains his objections to Senna film

Senna moviePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, McLaren, Adelaide, 1988When the Senna film hit cinemas last year Alain Prost was widely reported not to have watched it.

This was despite Prost being interviewed for the film about his arch-rival, in which he featured heavily.

It now seems Prost has seen the film and, speaking to ITV during their coverage of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, he explained his complaints about the finished picture.

Asked if he was happy with his depiction in the film, Prost said: “Absolutely not. No I don’t agree at all.

“I’m really, I would say, upset, in a way. I tell you why in 30 seconds. Because I spent a lot of time shooting for this. I spent many, many hours trying to explain things.

“We had one Ayrton Senna before Formula One, we had the Senna when we were fighting in Formula One and we had the Ayrton Senna when I retired

“And then comes back the human side of the story with two personalities and people would understand much more what happened when we were fighting, why he was fighting like this, and would have understood much more the last three or four months where he was calling me almost once or twice per week asking me questions, asking me to go back to the GPDA, asking questions about Williams, about safety, about personal life – very big secrets that I will never tell anoybody.

“It would have been good to have that, it was all in the rush that I have done. And at the end they wanted to do a commercial thing going to the good and the bad. I don’t care too much about being the bad boy.

“But what I care is look at that. We are here in Goodwood, we have a lot of fans, it’s history of motor racing. I would have loved to have this end of the story.

“At the end of the day all of what you can see is the human side. Otherwise you have no history, you have no tradition and that is really a big shame.”

Read F1 Fanatic’s interview with Senna writer Manish Pandey on the subject of the film’s ‘bad guys’: The Making of Senna part 6: The perfect bad guy?

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82 comments on “Prost explains his objections to Senna film”

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  1. I didn’t see Prost as a villain. I’m smart enough to realise this is a competitive sport!

  2. I finally got to watch the whole Senna movie last week with my wife as well. Absolutely enjoyed it even though the heartache was unbearable towards the end. It was edited in a way that it could attract non-motor facing fans – and the way it could do that was to portray a villain and a hero.
    You could say Senna’s sportsmanship was questionable at times – but I believe it’s how he learnt to play the F1 game. With Balestre favouring Prost it seemed for Senna to be fighting against all odds to win. I was at disbelief that not only did Senna get disqualified for Suzuka in 89, he copped a 6month ban and $100K fine – and if you looked at the replays it was Prost who turned in early, and the only option for Senna to continue was to go down the emergency road – Nelson Piquet highlighted this issue in the 1990 Suzuka driver’s meeting. The incident with Prost in 89 was a racing incident to a certain degree, but to be labelled as a dangerous driver for that particular move is idiotic. Prost didn’t do himself favours for riding that gravy train too – the best he could’ve done was to shut up and move on the fact that he’d won the WDC with a favour from a fellow countryman. 1990’s Suzuka race was also marred by the FIA’s last minute decision to change the pole position to the dirty side of the track – yet again to favour Prost. Senna was right to be ****** off and duly stated that he wasn’t going to be ****** again by the FIA. I don’t think Senna’s move to take out Prost was in the sole purpose of hatred against Prost but rather a signal to the FIA that if it dirty tricks are going to be played then he’ll take things into his own hands. I am at a loss as to how a governing body such as the FIA could behave in a way to favour a particular driver. And without trying to make excuses for Senna, it is this kind of behaviour that breeds unnecessary friction between drivers and tempts them to make irrational decisions on the track.
    I wasn’t a Senna fan in the early days but definitely when the McLaren wasn’t the fast car going around. Not too dissimilar to Alonso’s current achievements with Ferrari; Senna took wins from the far superior Williams Renaults. I can still remember watching the on-board of Senna when he still had a clutch and stick shift while the Williams were using semi-auto/paddle-shifts.

    1. I remember this well. The suzuka 1990 incident can’t be seen isolated, one must remember the FIA decision to change the pole side and the earlier incident (Suzuka 1989).
      By taking out Prost, Senna sends a message to FIA that he would take any more bullying by their part.

  3. Ultimately, was there enough time in the movie to explore the extremely complex relationship between Senna and Prost? F1 is, I believe, the most ruthlessly competitive sport in the world, where literally anything is used to get ahead, including politics. Did Prost fight ‘dirty’, when necessary, in seeking to win “every single anything”? Yes. Did Senna? …Yes. That’s what F1 -is-. And that’s what Senna and Prost were: two of the greatest of all time (yes, I would rank Senna #1, given performance in equal cars), “alphas among alphas”, fighting to be Absolute #1. Bill Simmons, one of the most influential writers in American sports journalism today, has a simple but effective term for it: “sports-hating someone”. Usually fans, but drivers can do it too, if so-and-so is THE Rival, etc.
    And yes: it is a mistake of the film to overlook this fact. Prost didn’t have to be the Villain; he had to be the Rival.

    1. Prost didn’t have to be the Villain; he had to be the Rival.

      That’s how I thought the film played it. For me, Balestre was cast as the ‘villain’.

  4. If i was Prost, I must be quite, in silence…As we saw in “Senna movie”, as much Prost talks, worst for him…More of Prost is revealled…Beware, Prost: the cameras are on

  5. ramy (@ramysennaf1)
    29th July 2013, 13:50

    the scene where prost asks senna if there can be joint winners sums it up as prost knew that senna was pipping him to the world best driver…

  6. Nailin’ my proverbial colours to the mast at the outset of this post, I would like to say my dream podium of all time would undoubtably include J.Clark, JM Fangio and a certain Mr A.Senna on the top step. Special mention should also be made of Tazio Nuvolari – reading of his exploits will often amaze, and have the hair literally standing up on the back of your neck!

    I guess I love genius and god-given talent. In this context sublimely skilled, no-nonsense hard ‘n’ fast racers ……guys that drive for a win, and not points, to put it politely!

    So, it truly saddens me to read some of the comments left here on this particular discussion …one that I’ve obviously come to late – but via my ‘latest’ viewing of the Senna film last night on ITV.

    I’ve followed Formula 1 for more years than I care to remember …probably 40 plus years to put a rather scary figure on it – knee-high to a grasshopper supporting a certain blue Elf Tyrell and it’s driver.

    As someone who has truly loved the sport, I have watched numerous films/documentaries and read countless books about teams, drivers, circuits and cars etc …and visited many Grand Prix all over the world. I make a point of mentioning this because I’d like to think I know a little about the sport I’ve followed for four decades.

    More importantly perhaps I’ve had the great pleasure to know many impassioned and knowledgable folk outside and inside of the sport itself; and had the enormous privilege to work on a project with a certain Foundation …one which does, and continues to do, exemplary work for very poor and underprivileged children.

    Thay say you can tell a lot about a man from the friends he keeps. I’d go even further and say… you can tell as much, if not more, about a man from the heroes he covets!

    When all is said and done, I relax now more than I’ve ever done in the past, when I read downright ignorant thoughts and opinions about Senna – who importantly – if you can tell – was probably a far, far greater man than even being the greatest racing driver of all time!

    I’d like to conclude by respectfully asking the readers of F1 Fanatic a double-headed question…

    Who would really ever make a film of Alain Prost …and who would ever want to watch it?

    Kind regards


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