Remember Brazil? He shut Berger out on the first corner while the Austrain had the racing line. And Portugal? When he took out an already black flagged Mansell. On both occassions James Hunt said "stupid".
Yes, there were mechanical problems, but the Senna film unfairly left those and his clumsy moments out all to blame Prost.
A championship is won across the whole season, not just on one race.
My point is that Senna film made Prost as his only reason to have lost 1989 title, while leaving out a huge chunk as mentioned above.
Not only that, but Senna made an error and spun off in Silverstone also. It is well known that Prost was the underdog in 1989 and that both Honda and the team gave preferential treatment to Senna. Both of these facts were painfully apparent in Italy. Even Roebuck and Ramirez confirmed that at Monza, Senna had two chassis, 2 engines and some 20-25 mechanics working on his cars at his side of the garage. Prost had 1 chassis, 1 engine and 5 mechanics on his side. It is also quite telling that in the qualifying Senna was 1.8 seconds faster than Prost in the same car on a track where they do full power for around 70-75% of the lap. No doubt that Senna was the greatest qualifier of them all and could give any driver past or present a few tenths on any track over one flying lap on a Saturday. But being almost 2 seconds quicker, that was just ridiculous, especially when one takes into account that a year earlier Senna was 0.3 faster than Prost on Saturday.
That 0.3 seconds from 1988 was a reasonable and a fully credible gap between the two on one lap. But to actually insist that Prost got suddenly 1.5 seconds slower in a year without any reasons in the background is just mind-numbingly silly. It is also argued that Senna's frequent technical failures that year could be the results of newer hence more unreliable parts on his car. Ron Dennis wanted Prost to stay for 1990 and Prost would have accepted the offer but only under one condition: that Dennis would publicly announce that Senna is the clear No.1 of the team and Prost is the clear No.2. Of course this would have damaged the "our drivers are always equal in their statuses" image heavily that McLaren carefully maintaned throughout the years so Dennis rejected the idea. Prost therefore duly cancelled his contract with the team even though he didn't have a drive at that time for 1990 yet. It just shows how serious and desperate that whole situation was.
Regarding Suzuka I don't there's anything to confess on his part as he was always open about what happened there. Before the race he announced that he would not open the door ever again for Senna for he had done it on quite a few occasions, even before the two got paired up at McLaren. He braked and turned in way earlier at the chicane, yes - and he never ever said that he didn't. By being in front and leading the race he had every right to choose his braking point and his line whilst defending his lead.
There is a very important detail that can not be stressed out enough but still many people are quite happy to ignore it: that the rules state that one has to give room to the other car when the attacking car is completely, wheel-to-wheel beside the leading car. Even with Prost braking way too early, even with him turning in earlier, even with Senna cutting through the pit lane entry and putting a wheel to the grass, even with his desperate move to divebomb in next to Prost with too much speed, it was still Prost's right front wheel that collided with Senna's front wing when the two crashed. This means that Prost was still a good .4-.5 meter ahead of Senna when they touched. Senna could not for a second manage to be wheel-to-wheel with Prost at the corner, let alone under braking, let alone coming out of 130R because Prost was ahead of him with at least half a meter all the time. Which in turn means that Prost was not obliged to give room to Senna at all, it was still his right to stick to his line and to defend it in any way he saw fit.
Prost only gave a taste for Senna of the Brazilian's own medicine. He wouldn't lift off because that was his line by clearly being ahead all the time. He didn't want to crash but he was never prepared to open the door once again either. Senna should have lifted but he never did - it was a racing incident between two committed drivers and that is that.
Those fans who blame Prost should also remember how in numerous instances Senna didn't give room to cars that attacked him and unlike him in Suzuka, those drivers actually got completely side-to-side with him hence were fully eligible to be given room. Still Senna never gave room to any of them and he spun them or pushed them off the track. On the following images one can clearly see how the attackers managed to put their wheels next to Senna's and claimed the right to be given room by doing so - only to be denied.
Rosberg at Brands Hatch in 1985 on lap 7:
Mansell at Rio in 1986 on lap 1:
Mansell again, at Spa in 1987, again on lap one (actually Mansell here wasn't only wheel-to-wheel, but already ahead - still got spun off by the Brazilian):
Berger at Rio in 1989, right after the start:
As it can clearly be seen in all of the cases above those drivers attacking Senna were next to him. Therefore I don't think it is a valid argument that Senna should have been given room at Suzuka in 1989. Even if we ignore that he wasn't up wheel-to-wheel next to Prost (which we shouldn't really!), we still can't ignore the controversy here then. We can't have it both ways that Senna was right in all these cases where he was defending and denied to give room but at the same time, he also was a victim when he attacked Prost and wasn't given room. This would just be a classical case of a double standard.
Jo Ramirez said that Prost only made one error at that corner: that he didn't just let Senna fly by him because it was clear from Senna's telemetry that he never would have been able to manage the corner with that speed and angle he was approaching it. According to Ramirez he would have just hit the unforgivingly high kerb there at the chicane and would have broken his suspension in the process.
Prost wasn't the one to be solely blamed there. In my opinion it was just a normal racing accident where neither parties can exclusively be held responsible.
Edited by Britophile, 14 November 2013 - 05:09.