Flashback: Disappointed world champion compares F1 drivers to ‘trained monkeys’


Four-time world champion Alain Prost strongly criticized Formula 1 and its drivers in 2002. The winners were not real winners in the eyes. Prost compared them to ‘trained monkeys’, a clear insult to the drivers. Exactly nineteen years ago he gave his diatribe about the technological developments in the royal class.

“The drivers simply follow the instructions of their engineers and let all the computers do the work. For me, that’s not real racing competition anymore. What’s worse is that these drivers are so much part of the system that they have to be quiet in order to not to damage the image of the sponsors.”

F1 drivers as robots

Prost, who was active until 1993 (the year in which he took his fourth championship with Williams, ed.), did not want to sound corny with his statements, but made a clear statement against technical progress in the sport. “In the past ten years, drivers are increasingly driving like robots,” he said at the time.

Today, the world champion from 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1993 seems to have made some hesitation in his remarkable statements, as since 2017 he has been ‘active’ again in Formula 1 as an advisor to Alpine, which was then called the Renault F1 team.

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