“Life in the Fast Lane – An Autobiography” (Alain Prost, 1988)

Posted on

| Written by

Alain Prost’s position as one of the most successful F1 drivers of all time is too often overlooked. He won 51 Grands Prix – more than any other driver bar Michael Schumacher – and four world championship – fewer only than Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio.

Against that terrific record you have to ask, where are all the books about this exceptional racer?

“Life in the Fast Lane” (what an awful name for a book about a racing driver) is one of the few titles about Prost and, regardless of the fact that it pre-dates the end of his career by five years it still tells us plenty about him.

Even if it does so with a total absence of flair.

This book is particularly important because it was first published in 1988. In that respect, we might call it “Alain Prost: The pre-Ayrton Senna years”. Or at least, before the animosity between the two severely got out of hand.

Unfortunately the book is so light on detail it actually reveals very little. There is particularly little detail on his early years, just a cursory couple of chapters. Personal information is non-existant.

The book is translated from a French original and the prose is unbearably leaden: “this happened, then this happened…” and so on. It’s like reading “The Da Vinci Code” again.

Since his departure from the sport in 2001 following the collapse of his own team, Prost has shunned the spotlight to an even greater degree, emerging only during the winter of last year to win the Trophee Andros ice-racing championship is a graceless PR exercise by Toyota.

His nemesis Senna has many books to his name and some of them are even worth reading. That’s understandable given Senna’s massive charisma and terrible death.

But it’s time justice was done to Prost’s career as well. Even given its obvious limitations this doesn’t come anywhere near close to a worthy account.

1988 (French original)
Stanley Paul & Co.

RaceFans rating

Related links

Tags: f1 / formula one / formula 1 / grand prix / motor sport

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

5 comments on ““Life in the Fast Lane – An Autobiography” (Alain Prost, 1988)”

  1. Sounds as though there’s an opportunity going begging there. Are you going to do it, Keith, or do I have to?

    Actually, I’d be the wrong person – I lost all interest in Prost the moment he begged the officials to stop the race in Monaco because it was raining. The fact that it had been raining since the race started and that Senna was closing on Prost hand over fist in an uncompetitive Toleman didn’t strike the officials – they did as Prost wished.

  2. I understand he’s very reticent when the press approach him these days – he was obviously very angry about the collapse of his team.

    I remember F1 Racing approached him for a quote for a feature a year or two ago and he snubbed them so badly they ran a little box saying “Alain Prost wouldn’t play ball because he’s bitter” (words to that effect at least).

    I think he’s a fascinating personality though – an extremely intelligent driver with a reputation for being ferociously Machiavellian behind the scenes. He’s overdue a good biography and perhaps now that’s he won this championship with Toyota it would be a good time for someone to do one? I’d love to if I had the time, access and connections!

  3. With the umpteenth Senna-related work now doing the rounds, what you said back thebn makes sense Keith. In fact I’m tired of so much emotionalism (don’t know if such a word exists) attached to Senna.

    OK he was an out-of-this-world driver, exceptionally talented and way above the rest, but it’s time something is done about the other great drivers of the time particularly Prost and Piquet – the multiple champions. I consider Prost and Piquet among the best drivers of all time and their lack of charisma or basic manners (in the case of Piquet during the Mansell rivalry) only makes them unique and larger than life.

    I wish I had the resources to tell the world about Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet. Personally, doing something like that would give me far more satisfaction than basically telling the already told and retold emotional Senna stories. I’m not saying this to discredit the work of Manish Pandey and his team – they’ve done a sterling job. But we’ve got to move on!

  4. Having just finished Senna Versus Prost (which I thought was fabulous) I was hoping to read something more in depth on Prost as he has such an interesting history. I thought an autobiography would be perfect but it’s good to know it’s not worth it! It’s a shame there aren’t more publications on him and I agree he seems to be a totally untapped resource. Malcolm Folley seemed to get a lot of access to him for SVP and I imagine has enough material to do a book just on Prost. He certainly seemed open to talking about details to Folley. Are there more books on Prost published in France perhaps that haven’t yet been translated?

  5. I found out the Maurice Hamilton is currently working on a book on Prost’s F1 career, Hamilton is one of my favorite writer and Prost was my favorite driver :) Hoping a decent book on the Professor finally.

Comments are closed.