Alain Prost was born to André Prost and Marie-Rose Karatchian, French but of Armenian origins in Lorette, France, on February 24, 1955. Despite his paternal passion for engines, Alain began to compete in karting only at the age of fourteen, while he was on vacation with the family; he had previously played a number of sports including wrestling and football and, before becoming interested in motoring, he would have liked to become a gym instructor or professional footballer. After winning several minor titles, Alain decides to drop out of university studies to devote himself to sport full time and in 1975 he wins the French senior kart championship. Thanks to this success, in 1976 he will be able to compete in the Formula Renault championship, which he will conquer at the first attempt, winning in all but one races.
Moving to Formula 3 in 1978, he won both the French and European titles the following year and attracted the attention of the Formula 1 teams: McLaren, in particular, offered him a contract for 1980. The decisive test took place in November 1979, on the Paul Ricard circuit: Kevin Cogan and the official driver John Watson are present, whose times serve as a reference. Prost manages to lap faster than both, and is therefore chosen as the second driver for the English team. McLaren had also proposed to make his debut in the last race of the 1979 season, but Prost declines the offer, believing that a premature debut would be a mistake, due to the lack of specific preparation.
Having reached the top flight in 1980 with the title of European Formula 3 champion, and after having won the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in that category, his rise was very rapid: in the first two races, at the wheel of the uncompetitive McLaren-Ford Prost gets two points finishes, arousing the interest of the top teams, but in the tests of the race in South Africa he goes off the track, getting a triple fracture of the wrist that forces him to miss the next Long Beach race. Later in the season Alain managed to reach the top six again on two occasions, finishing the championship in sixteenth place with five points, one less than his teammate John Watson. Although he had a two-year contract, however, the Frenchman leaves the English team at the end of the season as the English car is too fragile and the frequent technical failures cause him to go off the track and injuries during the year.
The latest failure is that of the suspension during the tests of the United States-East Grand Prix on the Watkins Glen track: the after-effects of the collision force the French driver to miss the race. When Prost learns that someone within the team, commenting on the accident had spoken of a driver error, he decides to end his relationship with the English team. At the end of 1980 the McLaren team passed into the hands of Ron Dennis who, together with the English coach John Barnard, tried to keep Prost in the English team, but without success. Renault puts him under contract.
In terms of results, the first part of the year is rather disappointing. Prost still gets his first podium in Argentina, in the third race, and is regularly more competitive than teammate René Arnoux. Furthermore, its greater aptitude for testing and technical analysis of the available material makes it very useful to a team that has had to upset its turbo car to remain competitive against naturally aspirated cars equipped with trim adjusters. At the French Grand Prix, on the Dijon circuit, Alain achieves his first victory: two-thirds of the race Prost is second behind Nelson Piquet, but the race is interrupted by rain.
At the second start, in addition to solving gearbox problems that had slowed him down, Michelin supplies Prost with very soft compound tires, which allow him to fly away and win the Grand Prix classification by sum of the times. The car in its new guise remains competitive throughout the season, but while the two teammates are very close in qualifying, Prost proves more effective than Arnoux in race conditions. From now on, the season is a crescendo: the summer races will see him as a great protagonist, he will dominate in Great Britain and Austria without being able to reach the checkered flag due to technical failures. Then he will finish second in the German Grand Prix after setting his first pole position.
The crescendo will continue in Holland: after winning pole again he will lead the race from the start and will win a tough duel with the reigning World Champion Alan Jones. A new victory will arrive in Italy, while the season finale will reserve a retirement in Canada, after having led the race in the rain, and a second place in the United States. After seven races Prost is thirty-three points behind the leader; the streak of results of the second half of the season will lead him to finish the year in fifth place in the overall standings, just seven points behind world champion Nelson Piquet. But above all he stands out for his ability to manage mechanical resources effectively, calibrating their use in the various stages of the race. His placement, together with that of Arnoux, ninth in the world championship, will allow Renault to reach third place in the constructors' classification. The rapid improvement in the competitiveness of turbo cars makes the Prost-Renault duo one of the natural favourites for the title for the following season.
The 1982 season began under the best auspices: having become Renault's top driver, Prost immediately confirmed himself, winning the first race of the season in South Africa. On the Kyalami track, after a good start, the Frenchman was forced to return to the pits by a puncture, finding himself at the exit with a lap behind his teammate, René Arnoux again. In just over twenty-five laps he recovers all the disadvantage and passes one by one all the competitors who have overtaken him, including Arnoux with a few laps to go, winning a victory with a comeback that is compared to that of Jim Clark at Monza in 1967.
In Brazil Alain comes third on the finish line, but Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg, who precede him, are disqualified for having run underweight, and the Frenchman gets the second consecutive victory, keeping himself at the helm of the world championship. The rest of the season does not confirm the premises: the unreliability of Renault allows Prost to score points in only four of the following fourteen Grands Prix, and in addition to technical problems there are disagreements between the drivers.
In Monaco, Prost accuses Arnoux of hindering him in qualifying, while in the race it will be the pressure of Prost that annoys Arnoux. The professor takes the lead in the race, but when the rain begins to drop a few laps from the end, he loses control of the car in the section between the Chicane du Port and the Tabac Turn, repeatedly hitting the barriers. The relationship between the two drivers will definitely go into crisis at the French Grand Prix. Two-thirds of the season, Prost is fifth, sixteen points behind the leader, while Arnoux is out of the game, having only scored four points. In the race the two Renaults find themselves leading the race and Prost, struggling with a damaged miniskirt, waits for his teammate to give him the way, as foreseen by an agreement suggested by the team director, Gérard Larrousse. But Arnoux keeps the lead, despite the signs displayed from the pits, and wins in front of the home crowd.
Prost will be disappointed by his teammate's behavior and the post-match will lead to a hard showdown within the French team that will leave the relationship between Prost and Arnoux irretrievably cracked. The Professor remains in contention for the world championship until the penultimate race, albeit with very limited possibilities, but in essence he will believe he has wasted a season. At the end of the year, while Arnoux moved to Ferrari, Prost decided to remain at Renault, however, placing the condition of having an evident status of first driver, also with thirty-four points that earned him fourth place in the drivers' standings.
For 1983 Renault hires the American Eddie Cheever as Prost's new teammate in place of Arnoux. The world championship did not start very well for the Frenchman, in the first two races Renault brought the 1982 single-seater with completely inadequate updates to allow it to keep pace with the top competing cars. At the third round of the season, the French Grand Prix, Renault finally brings the new car to its debut, and Prost inaugurates it in the best way by obtaining pole position with more than two seconds ahead of his closest rival, the victory and the fastest lap. fast in the race.
In short Prost recovers the ground lost in the first two races and takes the lead of the championship alternating victories - four total - with podium placements. His fourth victory of the season at the Austrian Grand Prix will be doubly significant, as it allows him to extend his leadership in the overall standings by fourteen points ahead of direct rival Nelson Piquet, and brings him the satisfaction of stealing the success of the hated Arnoux with an overtaking in the final stages of the race. With just four races to go, Prost is the favorite in the title race. Renault is preparing to collect the coveted world championship triumph by covering France with posters in which the driver is presented as the champion behind which the entire company is mobilized.
But the Frenchman is not quite as optimistic, as Brabham's BMW engines have become increasingly competitive. Prost talks to the team about his fears, noting that the ability of the German engines to withstand greater boost pressure in testing would have allowed rival Nelson Piquet to always start in front of him and the greater power of the Brabham BMW engines would have made it impossible to overtake. The driver's fears, unheard by his team, will materialize at the Dutch Grand Prix. Prost finds himself a full second behind Nelson Piquet in qualifying. In race conditions Prost is faster than his Brazilian rival but it is impossible for him to overtake him due to the higher speed of the BMW Brabham on the straight.
The Frenchman risks and, just before the scheduled refuelling, forces the overtaking at the Tarzan corner with a risky maneuver. A depression in the asphalt breaks up the car under braking and makes the collision between the two cars inevitable, leading both drivers to retire. The negative period continued with the retirement for technical reasons at the Italian Grand Prix, at the end of which his advantage in the standings was reduced to just two points over Ferrari driver René Arnoux and five points over Brazilian Nelson Piquet, winner at Monza.
Nelson Piquet and his Brabham win again at Brands Hatch, home of the European Grand Prix, while Prost limits the damage with second place, but with one race to go, the Brazilian is now only two points behind the Frenchman. The last stage of the season takes place at the Kyalami circuit, home of the South African Grand Prix. Renault shows up with a huge following of representatives of the French press. Prost had to give up due to a broken engine before mid-race, being, among other things, very distant from the Brabhams and without any hope of defending his slight advantage.
Piquet, learned of the retirement of the Frenchman, gives the victory to his team mate Riccardo Patrese and concludes in peace in third place, winning his second world title. At the press conference, the large group of journalists will hold a sort of interrogation of Prost and his team for over an hour. The conclusion of the championship undermines relations with the team, which two days after the last match decides to terminate the contract. Prost then signs for McLaren and moves with his family to Switzerland. At the end of the season, a controversy broke out about the Brabham gasolines led by the new world champion Piquet, which in retrospect will be recognized as not regular. Despite this, the FIA takes no action and confirms the rankings.
Following the retirement of John Watson from racing, Prost faces 1984 at the wheel of the McLaren with TAG-Porsche engine, where he finds himself as teammate the two-time World Champion Niki Lauda. The first part of the championship is very good for the Frenchman, who wins three wins and two podiums, but one of his successes, that of Monaco, will be highly contested and will ultimately prove decisive for his defeat in the championship.
Race director Jacky Ickx, in fact, suspends the competition, which is taking place in pouring rain, before the end, so that the scores are awarded halved. The fact then triggers a lot of controversy because it is said that the event was stopped to prevent Ayrton Senna, on Toleman, from overtaking the Frenchman and making him lose the race, as Ickx is also a Porsche driver in the prototype world championship that supplies the engines. to McLaren. In fact, if the race had continued until the end, Prost, even if he had been overtaken by Senna, would have obtained 6 points instead of 4.5 and consequently would have pocketed the World Championship at the end of the year.
The second part of the year will instead be characterized by retirements that will make him lose important points, so much so that Lauda will be able to overtake him in the standings. At the last world round, the Frenchman still has some chance of winning the title if he had won and his teammate hadn't gone beyond third place, but Lauda finishes second and wins the championship. The world championship therefore goes to the Austrian for half a point, a difference that is still the smallest gap ever recorded between two drivers fighting for the title in the final classification.
The 1985 season will be characterized for two thirds of the season by a duel with Ferrari driver Michele Alboreto. Prost wins the first Grand Prix of the season, but on the second round he will be forced to retire, while at Imola he will be disqualified due to the underweight of his car by two kilos. He will then be able to win in Monaco and will find himself at the top of the standings on equal points with Alboreto, who finished second three times in four races. After a third place in Canada behind the two Ferraris, Alain will be forced to retire at the US-East Grand Prix, where his Italian rival comes third, but the Ferrari driver's retirement in France with a third place from Prost allows the Frenchman to get closer. He then wins the next Grand Prix, held in Great Britain, with Alboreto second, but the Italian's success in Germany sees Prost return to four points behind.
The Frenchman will still be able to return to the top of the standings with another victory in Austria and starting from this Grand Prix, Alboreto will no longer be able to compete for the leadership with Prost. Also due to a decline in Ferrari's competitiveness, Alboreto will be overtaken by Prost who will be crowned World Champion for the first time, thus becoming the first, and so far only, Frenchman to win the world title, obtaining five victories and preceding his rival. Italian Ferrari, Keke Rosberg in Williams and Ayrton Senna in Lotus.
The following year the Frenchman will be able to repeat the feat, always with the same car, in this case preceding Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet with Williams as well as Ayrton Senna, still on Lotus. On the track, the Williams' superiority is evident: the McLaren is slower than its rival and moreover, unlike in 1984, it shows greater problems with consumption, after the capacity of the tanks was further reduced from 220 to 195 liter. The choice of the Williams team, not to favor either of the two drivers ends up triggering a fratricidal war that damages both of them, helping Prost in the difficult task of keeping in the wake of his rivals in the general classification. The Frenchman takes advantage of the opportunities available to him by excelling in the Grand Prix of San Marino, Monaco and Austria and collecting valuable placings elsewhere.
However, Prost will also have a setback at the German Grand Prix when one lap from the end, while he is in the leading positions, he will be forced to retire due to running out of petrol; the engine will stop shortly before arrival, and Prost will get out of the car trying in vain to push it to the finish line amidst the incitement of the public. During the last round of the season Prost takes advantage of Mansell's tire problems, whose left rear tire explodes due to excessive wear on the straight about fifteen laps from the end, and Piquet, who changes the tires so as not to suffer the same problem as his teammate, and wins the race and the title, at the end of a race that has remained famous for the succession of twists that distinguish it. The 1986 Prost title represents one of the very rare cases of modern Formula 1 in which a driver manages to claim the world title while having a significantly lower vehicle than his direct competitors.
In 1987 the Frenchman finds himself alongside a new teammate: the Swede Stefan Johansson, whose engagement is due to the sponsorship by Marlboro, which replaces the retired Keke Rosberg. The season starts well for Prost, with two victories in the first three races and first place in the standings in front of his teammate; but the ninth place at the Monaco Grand Prix and the two finishes in third place in the following three races will make him lose the lead of the standings in favor of Ayrton Senna.
The next two races will end outside the points, while Mansell and Piquet on Williams will establish themselves as dominators of the season; in particular, in Germany he will be forced to retire while he is leading. Only at the Portuguese Grand Prix will the Frenchman be able to return to being competitive and win the race, thus surpassing the record of victories belonging to Jackie Stewart, which had stood since 1973. Prost will finally finish second in Spain, but in the last three world events he will not get points, and with two races to go he will already be mathematically out of the fight for the title. The championship will be won by Piquet, with 73 points, followed by Mansell at 61 and Senna at 57. Prost will finish fourth in the drivers standings, with 46 points.
The following year Ayrton Senna arrives in McLaren, replacing Stefan Johansson, and together with the Brazilian also arrive the Honda engines, which make the car even more competitive: the fight for the title is soon restricted to only McLaren drivers, who win fifteen out of sixteen Grands Prix, of which eight for the Brazilian and seven for the French driver. The start of the season will be favorable to Prost, who wins three of the first four races. This is followed by two second places, behind his teammate, and a victory in France. Later, at the British Grand Prix raced in torrential rain, the professor decides to retire and this abandonment allows Senna to recover precious points. After three more races concluded behind his teammate, Prost retires again in Monza, due to mechanical problems.
At the Portuguese Grand Prix Prost returns to win, but this is where his rivalry with Senna arises: during the race the Frenchman, while trying to take the lead, is closed by the Brazilian against the wall. In the end Prost manages to win the race, but judges his teammate's maneuver dangerous. He then wins two of the last three races of the season, but finishes second in the standings due to the discard rule, that is the obligation to count only the eleven best results out of sixteen races: 90 points for Senna against 87 for Prost. However, the Frenchman closed the season with a clear advantage in total points, 105 to 94.
The third world title came in 1989, when he preceded Senna, still his teammate at McLaren, Riccardo Patrese with Williams and Mansell at the wheel of Ferrari. The start of the season sees a great balance between Senna and Prost. There is a growing rivalry between the two, which is accentuated at the San Marino Grand Prix when, despite having decided to avoid overtaking during the first lap, Senna overtakes Prost. At the end of the race the Frenchman came second behind the Brazilian and in the pits the professor was furious with his teammate.
Another two victories seem to be able to launch Senna towards the second world champion, but the Brazilian will then collect four consecutive retirements due to technical problems, in races in which Prost will get three victories, overturning the situation and definitely taking the lead in the world championship. Mid-season Prost will announce that he has signed for Ferrari for the following year. This decision will further exacerbate the atmosphere inside McLaren: with two races to go, Prost leads the world championship sixteen points ahead of Senna. The Brazilian's only chance to confirm himself as World Champion would have been to win both of the remaining races: the Frenchman, now with eleven valid results, should have started to discard, but Senna's failure to win in one of the two races would have however guaranteed the title.
The Japanese Grand Prix, the penultimate round, will end up unleashing a rivalry that would have had consequences also in the following years: in fact, Prost, with six laps to go, closes his companion who tries to overtake him and an accident follows. Prost is forced to retire, while Senna is pushed by the stewards on the track and continues to win the race. The Brazilian will then be disqualified from the race for returning to the track by cutting the chicane. McLaren will file an appeal in favor of Senna, which will be rejected by FISA, and the Brazilian will also be suspended for six months. The title will go to Prost and the relationship between the two, already tense for months, will suffer a further deterioration from now on, on and off the track.
Prost began his experience in Ferrari presenting himself very motivated and was able to express his opinion on the technical development of the car, which led to a progressive improvement in the car's performance over the course of the season. 1990 still sees the challenge between Prost and Senna looming, with no other driver able to enter the fight for the title. In the winter tests the new Ferrari 641 F1 proves fast, but still unreliable in comparison with McLaren.
In fact, in the first races of the season, the Frenchman, despite winning at Interlagos, cannot find the right feeling with the car and Senna takes advantage of seventeen points in the first five races. But with the debut of the 641/2 Prost progressively improves his performances and scores three consecutive victories, the first of which in Mexico at the end of a performance that sees him recover by overcoming all competitors one by one, including Senna and Mansell, after being started from thirteenth position, taking the lead in the world championship.
The summer will once again be favorable to McLaren, which in the fast circuits of Hockenheim, Spa and Monza will be worth the horses of the Honda engine. The technical advantage, combined with Senna's class, will bring the Brazilian three new wins and lead in the standings, inflicting sixteen points behind the Frenchman. The decisive episode will take place in the thirteenth race of the season, at the Portuguese Grand Prix: Ferrari will conquer the entire front row, but at the start Mansell squeezes Prost against the pit wall at the start, causing him to lose several positions. Despite the victory of the Englishman, Senna took advantage of the episode by finishing second, while Prost was unable to recover beyond third place, also due to an accident that occurred to Alex Caffi which caused the early termination of the race.
After a new victory for Prost in Spain, we arrive at the penultimate world round, in Suzuka: Senna is still ahead in the score, but Ferrari seems to have a slight technical advantage. The two rivals both start from the front row, with the Brazilian in pole position. Prost sprints better at the start, but the rival violently hits the Frenchman's car, thus causing both of them to retire. Failure to score points in the standings precludes the professor from any chance of winning the world championship and Senna comments ironically:
"That's how racing is done, some races finish at the first corner, some races finish with six laps to go".
Only a year later the Brazilian will confess that the maneuver is actually premeditated. Disappointed at having lost the title in a way that he considered unsportsmanlike, the Frenchman contemplates retiring from competitions, but, in the end, he decides to side with the Ferrari team also for the following season, where he will be joined by the young promise Jean Alesi.
The 1991 season will be a very disappointing year for Prost and Ferrari. Mansell left the Scuderia Ferrari due to his bad relations with the Frenchman and the Italian team, which also dominated the final of the previous championship, was overtaken during the winter by both McLaren-Honda and Williams-Renault. Furthermore, the tension between Prost and the management, in particular with the sporting director Cesare Fiorio, would have affected the progress of the season. Despite this, at the first world appearance of the year the Frenchman does not look bad and comes second with a limited delay against the winner Senna.
Later Prost will often be forced to retire and only on a few occasions will he be able to get on the podium. The performance at the San Marino Grand Prix was particularly embarrassing, where the Frenchman will go off the track in the reconnaissance lap and will be forced to retire. The debut of the 643 will improve things slightly, but Prost, at the wheel of a mediocre car and almost always relegated out of the fight for victory, will see his relationship with the team and with the Italian press wear down more and more, despite his performance. maintained permanently above that of the new teammate Jean Alesi, who will instead meet the favours and sympathies of the public.
Not even the dismissal of Fiorio, after the Monaco Grand Prix, and the assumption of management of the team by a triumvirate made up of Piero Fusaro, Piero Lardi Ferrari and Claudio Lombardi will be worth anything. The latest controversy will break out at the Japanese Grand Prix, at the end of which Prost will harshly criticize the car's lack of performance; the declaration will lead to the breaking of the contract between Prost and Ferrari, which will field Gianni Morbidelli in the last Grand Prix of the season in Australia.
This despite Prost declaring that he was misunderstood regarding the declaration on the truck: in fact he was referring to the fact that in that Grand Prix he had a steering problem, making the car undriveable, in fact, like a truck. But the press took up these words as if they were an insult, and Ferrari used it as a pretext to chase him away, as, according to the Frenchman, he had just signed a contract to be Sporting Director and driver at the same time for the 1992 season, which he created a lot of envy towards him within the Italian team.
For 1992 there is talk of a possible agreement with Ligier after Alain undergoes some tests, but the agreement does not materialize, perhaps also due to the resistance of the Frenchman to compete for a non-competitive team. Prost then becomes a commentator for TF1, awaiting his return the following year. Thanks to Riccardo Patrese's move to Benetton, the Frenchman will be able to return to Formula 1 driving a competitive car, the Williams; the contract includes a clause in his favor to prevent rival Senna from joining the team.
His teammate is Damon Hill, son of Graham, who was promoted to second driver after spending a year at Brabham. In the first part of the season, despite the superiority of the Renault-powered Williams, there will be great balance between the Frenchman and the Brazilian rival, who will alter at the top of the standings. In the first six rounds, the rivalry between the two rekindles, to the point that in Brazil Prost has to be escorted by the police to enter the racetrack due to the hostility of the fans. Starting from the Canadian Grand Prix, the Frenchman will manage to win four consecutive races, while Senna will win just eight points, remaining excluded from the fight for the title.
On the eve of the Portuguese Grand Prix, Alain Prost announces that at the end of the season he will permanently retire from the racing world. The Frenchman will then be able to win his fourth title and, at the last world round in Australia, his rivalry with Senna will also end, inviting him to celebrate with him on the top step. A year later, a few days after the Brazilian's disappearance, Prost will say he was touched by that gesture. Over the course of this last season, Prost sets the record, still unbeaten, of seven consecutive pole positions starting from the first race of the season.
In 1994 and 1995, Prost will return to collaborate with the French television station TF1, and at the same time also for Renault, as a public relations officer; for French television he will comment on the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, witnessing the live disappearance of his former rival, now his friend Ayrton Senna, and will attend his funeral in San Paolo. Later he will also return to McLaren in the role of technical consultant, and this role will give him the opportunity to test the Woking car in 1994 and 1995, even making the shakedown of the 1996 model; this idea will be conceived by Ron Dennis, in order to put pressure on the owners Mika Häkkinen and David Coulthard.
At the end of the competitive activity, Prost will found his own Formula 1 team, the Prost Grand Prix, taking over the equipment from Ligier and Flavio Briatore, and will race in the World Championship from 1997 to 2001. The first season is quite positive, with the conquest of two podiums, but also sees a serious injury to the first driver of the team, Olivier Panis, who fractures both legs at the Canadian Grand Prix and is thus forced to skip the central part of the race. season. In his place is called the rookie Jarno Trulli, who will manage to win three points and to command the Austrian Grand Prix before breaking the engine.
The other driver, the Japanese Shinji Nakano, will not be able to score more than two points throughout the season. At the end of the year, Panis will return to racing and will score a point in three races. Prost will finish in sixth place at the end of the season, the best result ever. The following years will be very disappointing: in 1998 the French team will not go beyond a sixth place obtained by Trulli and so for 1999 Prost decides to hire John Barnard as a technical consultant to help the designer Loïc Bigois in the realization of the new car. Despite this, the results will be disappointing: in all only nine points will be collected, thanks above all to a second place for Trulli at the European Grand Prix. In 2000 the Prost, led by Jean Alesi and Nick Heidfeld, will not get any points.
In the following season Prost will field five drivers during the championship: the championship starts with Alesi and Gastón Mazzacane, but the latter is replaced after four Grands Prix by Luciano Burti, due to the disappointing performances. Alesi, who has meanwhile scored four points, later moves to Jordan and is replaced by Heinz-Harald Frentzen, while Burti suffers a serious accident in the Belgian Grand Prix and is forced to miss the last part of the season. His place is taken by Tomáš Enge.
In the meantime, the economic difficulties are becoming more and more pressing, so much so as to force the team to close at the beginning of 2002. The debts incurred are in fact equal to about thirty and a half million euros; an attempt by some entrepreneurs to run the team in 2002 will be rejected by the FIA, as the Prost structure was not purchased but only the materials. After a year away from racing, in 2003 the professor decided to return to compete in the Andros Trophy for the Toyota team. In his first year he won a second place behind Yvan Muller, followed by a third place in 2004, another second in 2005 and another third place in 2006. On February 4, 2007 he became champion also in this series, a success repeated also in 2008, while in 2009, 2010 and 2011 comes second.
In 2012 he graduated champion of the category for the third time. Subsequently, at the beginning of the 2017 Formula 1 season he was hired as a consultant by his former Renault team. His numerous victories, on average one for every four Grand Prix disputed, led him to become the most successful driver in the history of Formula 1, surpassing in 1987 the record of races won which until then belonged to Jackie Stewart. The record was then beaten, fourteen years later, by Michael Schumacher.