The Battle of McLaren teammates Ayrton Senna (BRA) and Alain Prost (FRA) would come to an end as dramatic as the battle, itself, at the 1989 Australian Grand Prix. Held in an absolute washout on the waterlogged Adelaide Street Circuit, the race would commence after multiple delays, prompting Prost, who was leading the Drivers’ Championship, to announce his intention to run one lap to assess the situation. Sticking to his guns and feeling the conditions were (still) hazardous, Prost would pull the Honda-powered McLaren into the pits and walk away from the season finale. Senna, seizing the late opportunity, would push his way into a cushy lead, only to fall victim to that famous Formula 1 car spray, ending his (own) season with a matching retirement.
Despite their double retirement (following the infamous collision at the Japanese Grand Prix, which would retire Prost and disqualify Senna), McLaren would end 1989 with Prost taking first, Senna taking second, and the team taking the Championship. Prost would move onto a two-year run with Ferrari, coming in second (1990) and fifth (1991), take break in 1992, and come back to win one more Championship (with Williams), before retiring after the 1993 season. Prost remains active in F1, acting as a Renault ambassador (among other things), and serves as an advisor to the Ayrton Senna Institute, a foundation continuing Senna’s work with the underprivileged children of his native Brazil. And, as for Prost and Senna? Well, sometimes even the closest of friends cannot work together. And, in spite of all those stress fractures, that rivalry was one hell of a solid foundation for a pretty beautiful friendship.
Okay, thoughts on safety: take it, birthday boy…
Happy (belated) birthday, Mr Prost!