Autosport Plus

Prost vs Senna: The start of the war

The story of Imola 1989 is one of the lesser-told chapters in the feud between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. This extract from a new book by F1 writer MAURICE HAMILTON revisits the day their relationship exploded

Almost as soon as the 1989 San Marino Grand Prix had ended, a crack appeared in McLaren's red-and-white armoury. Alain Prost collected his trophy and walked out, brushing aside the official press conference (which would later attract a $5,000 fine) without pausing to speak to the French media.

In the absence of any comment from the team, journalists were left to draw their own conclusions from what they had seen on the racetrack. Ayrton Senna had taken the lead from the start and pulled out 2.7 seconds on Prost in the first three laps. At the start of lap four, Gerhard Berger had smashed into the same wall Senna would hit fatally at Tamburello corner five years later, the Ferrari quickly engulfed in flames.

Previous article FIA approves exhaust changes to make F1 engines louder in 2016
Next article Why McLaren-Honda negativity is catching on