Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen can work perfectly well as Ferrari teammates in 2014 reckons Alain Prost, who says Formula 1 teams should not be scared to pair two superstars.
Prost had a famously fractious relationship with Ayrton Senna when they were paired at McLaren in 1988-’89. Two bitter years of on- and off-track tension ended with Prost leaving for Ferrari. But he argued that his partnership with Senna had ultimately proved more beneficial than disruptive for McLaren, and that teams should manage superstar driver duos better rather than shying away from employing them altogether.
McLaren was only defeated six times in its two seasons with Prost alongside Senna.
“Only next year will tell us, because that [choice] can work very well,” said Prost of Ferrari’s driver pairing. “It has worked very well in the past. Everybody thinks about the reality between me and Senna but it has also worked well. It worked very well for the team we really put the team on top.
“If you have a problem it is the management that has to make it work. It is going to be more difficult but it can work.”
Prost believes Raikkonen’s easy-going persona reduces the chance of friction with Alonso.
“It should be easier because Kimi has a different character,” he said.
WORLD CHAMPION PAIRINGS
Pairing two world champions in the same team is very rare in F1, and has only happened six times since the inaugural season in 1950.
2010-12: LEWIS HAMILTON/JENSON BUTTON – McLAREN
McLaren made a shock swoop for Button as he won his surprising 2009 title with Brawn, pairing him with compatriot and established top dog Hamilton. Predictions that Button would struggle in “Hamilton’s team” soon proved wide of the mark.
Wins: Hamilton 10 / Button 7
Points: Button 672 / Hamilton 657
Poles: Hamilton 9 / Button 1
1989: ALAIN PROST/AYRTON SENNA – McLAREN
Senna was a rising superstar but not yet a champion when he joined McLaren alongside Prost in 1988. He won that crown to ensure equal billing to Prost the following year, but the Frenchman had the last laugh and took the ’89 crown before leaving for Ferrari.
Wins: Senna 6 / Prost 4
Points: Prost 76 / Senna 60
Poles: Senna 13 / Prost 2
1986: ALAIN PROST / KEKE ROSBERG – McLAREN
When Niki Lauda retired for the second time, Rosberg moved across from Williams to join Prost at the then-dominant McLaren team. The Flying Finn could not get to grips with a car tuned to Prost’s style, had little luck, and left F1 on a low point.
Wins: Prost 4 / Rosberg 0
Points: Prost 72 / Rosberg 22
Poles: Prost 1 / Rosberg 1
1974: EMERSON FITTIPALDI / DENNY HULME – McLAREN
Fittipaldi switched from Lotus to join incumbent and 1967 world champion Hulme at McLaren for ’74 and immediately gained supremacy as Hulme had a relatively quiet swansong, the death of close friend Peter Revson convincing him to retire at the end of the campaign.
Wins: Fittipaldi 3 / Hulme 1
Points: Fittipaldi 55 / Hulme 20
Poles: Fittipaldi 2 / Hulme 0
1967-8: JIM CLARK / GRAHAM HILL – LOTUS
Hill returned to Lotus to join the now double champion Clark in 1967. Though the Scot had the upper hand that year, when Clark was killed early in ’68, Hill was able to lead the team on to the title.
Wins: Clark 5 / Hill 0
Points: Clark 50 / Hill 32
Poles: Clark 7 / Hill 0
1953: ALBERTO ASCARI / GIUSEPPE FARINA – FERRARI
Farina was in postwar decline when he won the inaugural F1 title for Alfa Romeo in 1950, and he was no match for rising star Ascari when he joined him at Ferrari in ’52. Ascari took the title that year and had a clear edge in 1953 as well.
Wins: Ascari 5 / Farina 1
Points: Ascari 34.5 / Farina 26
Poles: Ascari 6 / Farina 0