F1’s most underrated World Champion? Alain Prost delivers bold statement

Oliver Harden
Ayrton Senna is flanked by Williams drivers Alain Prost and Damon Hill on the podium following his final F1 victory at Adelaide 1993.

Ayrton Senna is flanked by Williams drivers Alain Prost and Damon Hill on the podium following his final F1 victory at Adelaide 1993.

Alain Prost has claimed that he is the most underrated World Champion in F1 history, admitting he sometimes worries about his lasting legacy in the sport.

With four titles and 51 grand prix victories to his name, Prost stands as one of the most successful drivers ever but rarely features heavily in debates about the greatest of all time.

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone was a long-term supporter of Prost in the sport’s GOAT debate, but revealed in September last year that he now believes Max Verstappen – a three-time World Champion at just 26 – to be the best ever.

Most underrated F1 champ? Alain Prost picks himself

“Max is the best driver ever,” Ecclestone told the Mail. “No doubts.

“I used to say Alain Prost. Now I would say Max. He’s the greatest. He is brightest with regards to getting the best out of the car. He doesn’t muck around. He gets right on the programme. In my list he is above Lewis Hamilton.”

Despite his own success, Prost is remembered most fondly for his rivalry with Ayrton Senna, with the pair infamously colliding at title deciders at Suzuka in consecutive years in 1989 and 1990.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Revealed: What happened with Ferrari’s 10 other British driver signings?

10 biggest sports deals in history: Where does Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari salary rank?

Speaking to Motor Sport Magazine, Prost revealed his frustration that his decorated career is often distilled into a three-year period spanning his rivalry with Senna – offering a reminder that he faced a total of five World Champions in identical machinery.

He said: “I do ask myself sometimes how I am going to be remembered. It sounds like a joke but I’m completely underrated! I know that. I can see. I don’t know why, but it’s my brand in a way.

“It looks like it stays that way forever, it is part of the history.

“Look at my other team-mates [apart from Senna]: [John] Watson, [Rene] Arnoux, [Eddie] Cheever, Niki [Lauda], Keke [Rosberg], Stefan [Johansson], Nigel [Mansell], Jean [Alesi] and Damon [Hill].

“Nobody talks about them. I had five World Champions as team-mates, so it is a bit of a shame. But it is the way it is. Today you have social media and everybody is coming back to videos of our fights.

“Sometimes I don’t understand. My career was not only two or three years.”

Prost spent two full seasons as Senna’s team-mate at McLaren-Honda, with the fractious relationship between the pair leading the Frenchman to join Ferrari for 1990.

Prost has claimed Senna “never” impressed him in race conditions, but admitted the Brazilian came to the fore in qualifying.

He said: “When he impressed me, I must say it was in qualifying sometimes, I don’t remember when exactly.

“Never in race conditions. Never.

“In race conditions, in the warm-up, most of the time I was quicker.”

Read next: Mercedes told to ignore ‘legal or monetary obstacles’ with ‘best solution’ named