Ferrari’s F1 policy could backfire in 2025 – Prost

Wed, 6 March 2024, 09:00

Mar.6 (GMM) Alain Prost wonders if Ferrari’s new policy of having no clear de-facto ‘number 1′ driver from next year can work for the fabled Maranello marque.

The F1 legend is referring to the looming arrival in 2025 of seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who will be paired with the highly-rated incumbent Charles Leclerc.

Prost, himself a quadruple world champion, told Servus TV that when Formula 1 teams are serious about winning drivers’ titles, there is normally a nominal or de-facto ‘number 1’.

“I have never been officially the first driver at a team – never,” the Frenchman said. “I never asked for that, but maybe it was a mistake.

“If I had been the first driver, perhaps one of the years at McLaren, or in 1990 at Ferrari, I could have won the world title, because things would have gone differently.”

And while officially or contractually nominating clear number 1 drivers is no longer the norm in F1, Prost insists that the reality is quite different.

“If you look at history, Ayrton (Senna) was always the first driver, and the same goes for Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen,” he said.

“And that actually applies to all championships in the last 20 years.”

Prost, 69, thinks a number 1 driver is even more important at Ferrari.

“Especially at Ferrari, you really need a first driver, because you have to deal with more pressure,” he said. “There’s a lot of politics going on, which you sometimes don’t know about and which you sometimes don’t understand.

“When you’re fighting another team, it makes it much easier for a team if you have a clear number 1,” Prost added. “I won the title in 1986,” he explained, “after a battle with Nigel (Mansell) and Nelson (Piquet).

“They were teammates (at Williams) and they never received team orders. I really used that to my advantage.

“When you don’t have the chance to win the title, maybe you don’t need a first driver,” he said. “But if you do have that chance and you want to win that title … maybe we’ll find out next year with Lewis and Charles.

“That will be very interesting,” added Prost. “It will be very difficult for management, but on paper there will be no first driver, which is good for the sport anyway.”

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