a crash for a world title? Prost, Senna, Schumacher … famous precedents
Whether it was Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in the 80s and 90s, or a young Michael Schumacher in 1994, drivers sometimes used unethical procedures to win the Formula 1 title after a collision .
It is to be feared, or to be hoped, it depends, that Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen will push their fierce duel beyond the limits next weekend in Abu Dhabi, where Max Verstappen knows he will have every interest in. show more aggressive than ever to clinch his first title of world champion. The two rivals are not immune to a new clash which could decide the identity of the world champion this season, which Christian Horner, the boss of Red Bull, feared already several weeks ago.
Senna-Prost in 89/90, an exacerbated rivalry
« Whoever is in front will absolutely try to do the same as in the Senna / Prost years », prophesied Toto Wolff in the columns of the Daily Mail, referring to the 1989 and 1990 Japanese Grands Prix, decisive for the drivers’ world title, which s ‘resulted in a clash between Magic Senna and Professor Alain Prost, teammates within the same team, McLaren / Honda. No one wants to see a championship be decided in a gravel pit, but such an outcome is possible, to say the least, even if it is not desired.
The collision between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna at the Suzuka Grand Prix in 1989 was the culmination of a huge rivalry that degenerated into settling of scores. The two single-seaters cling to the circuit, while the title is being played out. Prost is forced to retire, Senna is finally disqualified. Bitter, despite a third world title, Prost left the British McLaren team at the end of the season. And it is under another flag, that of the Scuderia Ferrari, that he hopes this time to clinch a fourth world title. Alas, his conquest came to an abrupt end after another collision with… Ayrton Senna, once again at Suzuka.
Schumacher, the call of vice
Four years later, a new controversy stirs the paddocks. An old story that dates back to the first coronation of Michael Schumacher marred by a controversy, in 1994. Very early in his career, the German had this propensity to elbow to try to obtain the victory. On November 13, 1994, in Adelaide, Australia, the context was tense to say the least. Michael Schumacher saw his lead in the standings melt like snow in the sun and is only one point ahead of Damon Hill, due to several disqualifications. Schumacher leads the first 35 laps of the race, and that’s when the maneuver that will go down in F1 history arrives.
The German driver missed his braking in a tight turn on lap 36, and damaged his car. Moment chosen by the Englishman to seize his chance to pass his rival for the title. Damon Hill then entered the inside of the next turn, thinking he would gain the advantage at this point. It was without counting on the vice of Schumacher, who was going to steer as if nothing had happened, hitting the left front wheel of the Williams. His own Benetton finished his race in a tire barrier. But Hill’s car is damn damaged, too, forced to go through the pits. The verdict is final. The Briton will not be able to re-engage his car on the track. Michael Schumacher not being penalized for his illegal maneuver, the German is crowned world champion. In the controversy.