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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March 2008, 08:13 GMT
Prost disillusioned by F1
By Des Kelly
Inside Sport pundit

Alain Prost
Prost says most F1 drivers would win the title in the right car
When Alain Prost declares that Formula One is not the sport it used to be, only the foolhardy would do anything but sit up and take note. This is "The Professor" and he knows what he is talking about.

The four-time world champion earned his nickname because of his intellectual and detached approach to the high-octane sport and he remains supremely well-qualified to sit in judgment on the Grand Prix circus.

And Prost thinks Formula One is just like your average GCSE; it just keeps on getting easier.

"A new driver with very little experience can come into Formula One and drive very quickly. It's just like playing on a PlayStation," he said.

606: DEBATE

"It's more speed, less brains, less tactics, less strategy and much less work together between a driver and the engineers - and that is not Formula One I like."

Prost is certainly no rent-a-quote. When Amanda Farnsworth, the editor of Inside Sport, said he was available for a rare interview, I was so intrigued I cut my holiday in Australia short and jumped on a 24-hour flight from Sydney to hook up with the BBC team heading to Paris.

You might be able to pull anyone from the top two-thirds of the grid and they could win in the right car

Alain Prost

A holiday can happen another time. A meeting with one of the greats of motor racing might not.

In the list of all-time champions only two men have surpassed Prost's four world championships, Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio. So an interview with Prost is like flicking through the pages of history.

The venue was the Stade de France, where the winner of 51 Grands Prix was taking part in the Andros Ice Racing Series and more than 60,000 people had turned up to greet their hero.

These contests do not fill the void he feels in his post-Formula One life - what would? - but Prost's competitive streak shines through as he angles his car around the frozen track, watching the road ahead through the side window instead of the windscreen.

ALAIN PROST - KEY FACTS
Alain Prost
Championships: 4 (1985, 1986, 1989, 1993)
Races: 202
Wins: 51
Podium finishes: 106
Pole positions: 33
This is the man who fought wheel to wheel with Ayrton Senna in perhaps the fiercest and most enthralling duel ever seen in F1. This was the man who battled for supremacy with Niki Lauda and Nigel Mansell.

But today, it's not really about the drivers. It's all about the car. Look back at footage of Prost's thrilling contests with Senna and you remember just what Formula One is meant to be. These days, without the intervention of a shower, it's usually over by the first corner.

Prost blames technology for this.

He told Inside Sport: "You might be able to pull anyone from the top two-thirds of the grid and they could win if they were in the right car.

"The car was always more important than the driver, but the good teams knew who the best drivers were in my time."

The removal of traction control systems this season might be a move in the right direction, but Prost believes the sport still has some way to go before it is a contest again and not an extended science project.

Watch the full interview with Alain Prost on BBC One's Inside Sport, Monday, 3 March at 2320 GMT.

INSIDE SPORT ON THE BBC

MONDAY 12 MAY
2330 BST, BBC ONE

SEE ALSO
Prost backs Hamilton to win title
03 Mar 08 |  Formula One
F1 bans traction control for 2008
30 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Prost warns McLaren over tactics
18 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton could win title - Alonso
28 Feb 08 |  Formula One


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