Alain Prost was born in 1955 near Saint Chamond in the Loire region of central France. He threw himself into many sports and even considered football as a professional career. However a chance encounter with kart racing on a family holiday grew into a passion and in 1974 he left school to become a full-time racer. His first title came the following year in the French senior karting championship, his prize for which was a season in Formula Renault. He would win two titles in the category before moving to Formula Three. In 1978 and 1979 he won both the French and European F3 championships, by which time he was on the shopping lists of several Formula One teams. After carefully considering his options he chose to sign with McLaren for 1980.
In his first Formula One season – one of the most competitive periods ever seen – he finished in the points four times. For the 1981 season he signed for the Renault team. He would not have to wait long for his first win, which came on home soil in the 1981 French Grand Prix at Dijon. The victories just kept coming : he had nine during his three seasons with Renault, including at Monza, Silverstone and the Osterreichring.
In 1984 Alain returned to McLaren and a remarkable era began. In six seasons Alain won a total of 30 races, three World Championships and was runner-up twice. He became the first French World Champion in 1985, the first back-to-back champion since Jack Brabham in 1986 and, in 1987, his 28th Grand Prix victory beat Jackie Stewart’s 14-year-old record.
In 1988, Prost contributed seven wins to his McLaren-Honda team’s season dominance with 15 victories from 16 races. However, a sensational rivalry was the headline act. New team-mate Ayrton Senna won eight races and the title, but the on – and often off-track – battles pushed each driver to new, unprecedented heights of success. The two continued McLaren’s domination throughout 1989, with Alain proving victorious that year.
In 1990 Alain signed for Ferrari and won five races. Again, the championship went down to the wire, but it was Senna who took the win this time. 1991 was a difficult year and Alain took a sabbatical in 1992, only to return in 1993 with Williams. He would win seven more races - bringing his total to a then record 51 - and take his fourth driving title.
Alain retired on a high at the end of the season. He has gone on to several different ventures inside and outside Formula 1, with Renault e.dams one of the most ambitious, but ultimately most successful, endeavours.
"We have a good operational team and a good partner in Renault, who brings strong technical support. We also have two strong drivers that are very complementary and get on very well. In all areas there is co-operation and cohesion, which is incredibly important in the team championship."