F1 Flashback: The Senna-Prost feud begins, 1988

1 Comment

The gloves came off in the 1988 championship contest between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost 25 years ago today.

What had been a tense rivalry between the two McLaren drivers began its transformation into a grudge match following a notorious encounter in the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Prost beat Senna to pole position, but the Brazilian driver took the lead at the start. Prost fought back as lap two began, drawing alongside – only for his team mate to push him towards the pit wall.

“If we’d touched at that speed, it would have been like a plane crash,” Prost fumed afterwards. “If Ayrton wants the championship that badly, he can have it.”

Senna continued to drop back, suffering a rare engine problem with his Honda V6 turbo. While a relieved Prost retook the championship with his fifth win of the season, Senna slipped back to sixth place.

But the die had been cast – for their relationship and the rest of the championship. Prost had now scored 11 times and a driver could only count his best 11 results. Therefore over the remaining races Prost would have to keep scoring highly to continue adding to his total – and that meant beating Senna.

Also on the podium that day was Ivan Capelli, who’d qualified third in a March honed by the burgeoning aerodynamic genius of Adrian Newey, and Thierry Boutsen’s Benetton.

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

 

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

Follow @JerryBonkowski