What I've Learned: Alain Prost

Legendary F1 racecar driver Alain Prost explains the relevance of Formula E in the world of racing.

BY Noor Amylia Hilda | Feb 23, 2016 | Feature

Photograph by Clement Marin/DPPI

Four-time Formula One World Champion, Co- founder of Renault e.dams, 61

The first time I fell in love with racing, it was a really strange story. I think everybody knows that I was passionate about football and I had been with my brother who was passionate with go-karts. I had a broken arm then and I drove (the go-karts) with just one arm and I fell in love with it like it was a woman.

When I started go-karts my parents didn't want to help me, they didn't want me to do it but I was always curious about the technology, the technical side of it. So I learned how to make the preparation of the engine, the chassis…I learned a lot of things.

I had this desire to do better things. You need to make a difference somewhere. Don't think that you are better than others. Always try to make things better even if you already have a better car, a better set-up or a better understanding and I’ve always kept that all my life.

I’ve always loved cars but I also love road cars and not only sport cars. I never had any sports car myself but I like cars…the technology, the design, the engine, just everything.

I wanted to be a football player but I don't know what I could have done (if I didn’t become a race car driver). I would have loved to be a sportsman in any kind of aspect.

What I think about Formula E generally, is it's a new concept and something very innovative. The thing is that nobody thought that it was possible, because with electric cars, people still do not understand exactly how it works and where we can go from here so there is no better way to give credibility (to it) than in motor racing. So then at least you have something to show and already it was a big success in the first year.

Formula E has to be different. Personally, I’ve always said that you don't want to be compared to Formula One, I think that would be a big mistake and that is not the goal. You have to work in parallel but in a good way. It's something completely different.

If you go too far, too fast, you cannot survive because it is going to cost too much. So the big compromise (in Formula E) is that we have to find the best way through the sporting side and also on the technology side to make progress. We have to go slowly and steadily to give credibility to the system and to show we're working very hard in terms of performance and energy as well as the range and the potential that we have and that is where we want to go. If it keeps going this way, we can be quite competitive in the future.

I think (social media) is a good idea in Formula E because that's what we want, to have the interactivity with people, especially young people. I hope that maybe one day it would be best to make them interact during the race if it's possible. At the moment, I don't know if (the Fanboost) is very fair to be honest but it's good to have.

I am active on social media but also not very active…just a little on Twitter and maybe on Instagram because sometimes you have a nice picture you want to share, but I’m not very active, not yet.

When I’m not on the track I try to take care of my family. I have a lot of different businesses, so I’m always working very hard but my hobby is bicycles, I love them. I love to spend time on my bike.

I tell my son, Nico to be yourself. Don't think about me. Just be yourself.

I like to give out advice but I always say don't take (my advice) as the truth. When you ask a question, I can answer and give you an advice, then you do what you want, you think however you want but don't think that what I say is always correct or always true. You do what you think is better and I think that's the best advice.

Best way to defeat your enemy, just ignore him. I don't think I have an enemy. I have people that don't like me and maybe I don't like them but I don't have enemies. I don't like this word.

The nickname is something that you cannot decide for yourself. I am very honoured that I have this nickname (The Professor). The biggest honour is that it came from 1983 if I remember and in fact, 32 years later, I still have the same nickname.

A quality that a good racing driver should have is not just one quality, it has to be a complete package. It’s not only in the driving (technique) and being quick and not only being safe and being good at the set-up of the car but also, what is very important is to be good with the team by trying to motivate the team with his behavior in a natural way.

The key to success is to think that if you win, you think OK, that’s good. But in fact, the next time, you can’t go higher, you can only go lower. So you have to work and work and keep doing things better.

My best philosophy in life is that you are always in competition. If you stop improving or if you think that you're the best and you cannot make it better, then you're dead. That’s a nice philosophy.