SOUREST EPISODE OF SENNA-PROST WAR
by Maximiliano Catania/FUNO!
Buenos Aires (AR), 22 Oct 2004
The 1989 season probably was the most exciting of the eighties, and definitively the Japan race put the year to the top of the mountain. That is because the everlasting contenders Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost - team-mates in McLaren but rivals the same - defined the championship in their way, by fighting corner-by-corner and by finishing in a collision. The Brazilian was in a 0.5'' gap disadvantage during the last part of the event so he decided to chase the Frenchman in order to grant for himself the chance at final round in Australia. Ayrton could put himself in the wake of Alain with few laps to go and he intended to overcome Prost in the only place to do it: the Casio Triangle (curve which is previous one to the main straight at Suzuka circuit). The 1988 champion passed Prost by the inside line of corner, but his experienced team-mate shut the door when Ayrton was trying to finish his master-work and as a result both competitors blocked their cars in each other out of the track. This manoeuvre was the most controversial in 49 years of F1 (counting since 1950) and the by-story is to be well known by the majority: Senna claimed the marshals to help him for continuing racing, while Prost was taking helmet and gloves out; French driver walked straight to pit lane as 1989 champion but the South-American managed himself to win the race by repairing his front wing in the pits first and by overcoming Alessandro Nannini's Benetton-Ford three laps later, and the victory went to him, at least in the racetrack, because the results as statistics and FISA say the First Prize went to Nannini. Senna sued the authorities of FISA (Jean-Marie Balestre) considering himself as a victim from an unfair decision and claiming for the Federation to give him back victory, but more controversy was born and Prost crowned himself as season's king the same.