Alain Prost admits that it is worth taking risks to win the Monaco Grand Prix, but balances his argument by insisting that precision is still an important factor.
The four-time Monaco winner was renowned for his professorial approach to driving a race car, and was rewarded with the record for victories until Michael Schumacher steamrolled his way to the top of the list, but acknowledges that Monaco, where passing is at a premium, requires a slightly different methodology.
“It is worth taking the risks but, in a way, you need to be also very precise,” Prost told CNN's The Circuit, “The biggest quality you need to have with this kind of track is really keeping the concentration lap after lap obviously, but that is a very complex track. That is also why, if you take the permanence of this race, you can see that … you have lots of multiple winners. And that could explain also that if you have the experience if you know how to do the project then you can be more successful.”
Prost's rival, Nelson Piquet, coined the analogy that racing around Monaco was akin to riding a bicycle around the living room, but the Frenchman tends to think a little differently about the greatest challenge on the F1 schedule.
“I would maybe describe it differently because you need to understand that every year you arrive here with F1, you go into your car, you go up to the Casino, you try to accelerate and every time, every year, I had the same feeling: how am I going to be able to drive this, it looks so big for the corner and the speed and the power, you know?” he explained, “Then you slowly get used to it, in only a few laps, but [initially] it looks like you have a plane, you have a jet, and that is always a feeling. You change slowly and you start to dominate the car and that is when you have the biggest pleasure you know inside you. I only had this 100 per cent control in '86. From the first day of the race, it looked like nothing could happen and, really, my car, myself, was one. If you have this kind of feeling, Monaco is a dream.”
The allure of Monaco also carries beyond the normal bounds of F1, in the same way the Le Mans and Indianapolis do, and Prost is quick to point out that, to some, his success on the streets of the Principality still carries greater significance than his other achievements.
“Very often [people] say 'oh I know Alain is a world champion, but he won Monaco four times, Ayrton [Senna] won Monaco six times',” he revealed, “You always operate within your parameters. I won the French Grand Prix six times and they do not care about that six times, it is more important [to win] in Monaco.”