Senna, Prost and the MP4/4

Today’s piece for Senna week, comes from, Lois Martin. Contributing editor for Formula 1 Blog,

It is an honor to contribute to Gary’s salute to Ayrton Senna and “Senna Week” on his blog. As I write this, the foundation that Ayrton established in his native Brazil, Instituto Ayrton Senna, is marking the twentieth anniversary of his third – and sadly – final Formula 1 Driver’s Championship today, October 20.

Wow. Where does time go?  Twenty years.

And as I write this, we motorsport fans are still coming around from and trying to comprehend the tragic weekend that just went by, where we lost yet another young talent in Dan Wheldon. I sit here with my original ideas for this post clouded by that reality. What do you say?

Then I think, wait. Go back. Capture that moment in time. What you wanted to originally write about. Oh yes, the car ………

I take you to early spring 1988. Reluctant teammates, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, arms around each other, smiles for the camera. Upstart Senna had been warned, rather frankly, that Prost was first driver and he should not upset the status quo.

Yeah, right. That and putting the Honda V6 turbo-powered McLaren through its final paces before its debut in Brazil that April. The battle between the two began, Ayrton on pole only to be disqualified, Ayrton on pole but Alain wins. Ayrton. Then Alain. Back and forth, back and forth.

One of Formula 1’s most epic seasons played out by two amazing guys, each at the wheel of their edition of one amazing car:

The McLaren 4/4.

Originally this post was going to celebrate the car. But instead I choose to celebrate the men and their storied relationship that, in the end, became a close friendship. In the midst of Senna Week, I salute Alain Prost along with Ayrton Senna.

For those of you who may not know, Ayrton and Alain made amends in the last days and weeks of Ayrton’s life. Alain was a pallbearer at Ayrton’s funeral. And Alain is a trustee of Instituto Ayrton Senna.

Together they drove their McLaren 4/4s into Formula 1 history. When you think about it, the 4/4 was indeed one magnificent machine.


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