Politics caused Ferrari title drought, says Prost

Four-times Formula 1 World Champion Alain Prost has cited politics as the main reason behind Ferrari's 21-year drivers' title drought

Politics caused Ferrari title drought, says Prost

Michael Schumacher finally secured the drivers' crown for Maranello with a victory at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, but speaking to Autosport.com, Prost said that politics prevented him from bringing a title to Ferrari in 1990, some 10 years earlier.

"I nearly did it," he said. "I think with the same management and the same organisation they have today, I would have won this title in 1990. I lost it only because of political comments, strange decisions, political reasons.

"Michael [Schumacher] and Ferrari were very close to winning it before, too," he added. "I think the biggest difference in the last 10 years is that even if they have not won the championship, they have kept the motivation and kept working hard, and that was not possible 10 years ago."

Prost says that Schumacher is a catalyst for the turnaround in Ferrari's fortunes and believes that concentrating on one driver is also a key element. In 1990, Prost was teamed with Nigel Mansell, theoretically with equal number one status. The Frenchman finished second in the championship, 7 points behind Ayrton Senna's McLaren after an infamous altercation at Suzuka, with Mansell fifth overall.

"I think Schumacher's strengths are to be able to motivate the people, motivate the team, make them work well together," he explained. "There are no politics inside the team, and obviously everybody is focussed on him. You can see on the track, in every kind of condition he's always good, so it's very good for the team."

Prost won 51 GPs in 198 starts and Schumacher is now second in the all-time statistics with 43 wins from 143 races - a better hit rate than 'the Professor'. The German triple world champion needs just nine more victories to take over the top slot, but Prost is not unduly alarmed by the prospect.

"For sure he is very good," he said. "If one day I have to be beaten, I prefer to be beaten by someone like him."

Prost renews his links with Ferrari in 2001, when his eponymous team uses customer V10s from Maranello for the first time.

For the full transcript of Adam Cooper's chat with Alain Prost click here.


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