Despite the introduction of the revised AP01B, the Prost team had another weekend to forget at Suzuka, as their drivers trailed home in 11th and 12 places.

Jarno Trulli won the drawing of lots to drive the development chassis in Japan but, after qualifying in 14th place - behind the regular car of team-mate Olivier Panis - the Italian had a request to revert to the old AP01 turned down. An accident in the pre-race warm-up looked to be a desperate attempt to get his way, with the new car not repairable before the race start.

Trulli's woes refused to change despite the change of car, as the Italian stalled at the first start and was banished to the back of the grid. From there, he managed to take the A16 EV4 engined Prost almost to the chequered flag, only to be thwarted within sight of the finish by an undisclosed engine problem.

(I had a misfire as I came to the grid,) the Italian explained afterwards, (and then I had a problem finding first gear. That's why I raised my arm. Under the rules, I had to start from the back of the grid.)

Team-mate Panis had a quiet race, after leaving the track before the first formation laps were complete. The Frenchman finished eleventh, one lap down on race winner Mika Hakkinen.


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