when the teacher enters the Sorbonne

They are philosophers (André Comte-Sponville), academics (Marc Lambron) or politicians (Edouard Philippe), but the professors of the Cité de la Réussite are rarely career pilots. He is, however, the most famous of the French in the discipline who has participated this weekend in the colloquium that is organized every year at the Sorbonne in Paris. Alain Prost even closed the event which, for two days, brought together 200 personalities at the venerable institution.

A very logical presence to illustrate the theme chosen this year: time. The opportunity for the four-time world champion to evoke the times of the stopwatch (those he was able to achieve), but also the time that passes (that of his multiple races) and the time that will come (that of the radical change of the automotive industry). ).

“Speed ​​has never fascinated me”

From his chair, Alain Prost has represented a few great moments of his life, taking care to systematically turn the test table upside down. Speed? She never aroused any fascination with him. “I prefer the domain to him”. Talent and good drive? “All F1 drivers have them, otherwise they wouldn’t have reached that level”. For him, the difference is played out elsewhere, and it’s much less spectacular. “It takes patience, work and time to know all the parameters of your car and be able to impose the settings you want on your computer.”

Driving MP3 / 2 in 1985 at Brands Hatch.

But that was before, and the teacher, who has never left the circuits, agrees. “Today, the parameters are imposed by the engineers on their pilots. The relationship has been reversed “. Until 3 years ago it was forced to test new F1 cars every year and was able to measure their evolution, until it destabilized. “When you brake with any traditional car, the front lowers and the rear lifts slightly. The last Red Bull I drove is the opposite: the last low every time you brake to maintain traction.” F1 has reversed the laws of physics.

“I’m not interested in stock sports cars”

However, the teacher of the day admits: “No other car will ever be able to give the feel of an F1. So what sense does it make?” And he admits that sports don’t interest him, or very little. “By no means on the road, or do I have very quiet driving.” A calming that risks becoming a nuisance in the near future, due to the change to electricity. He considers it inappropriate. “I’m not at all opposed to the electric car, quite the contrary. On the other hand, I’m rebelling against the all-electric mono technology.”

“We are deploying a red carpet to the Chinese”

When he evokes this problem during his lecture, the four-time world champion takes on a less jovial tone. “It’s grotesque to be so radical. Electricity is perfect for big cities, but imposing it everywhere, and banning thermal power altogether, is a way to roll out a red carpet for Chinese industry and tear down ours.” . And explain his disappointments with the political world. “I have written reports, I have met Presidents of the Republic and ministers. No one has moved. Decisions are made, but no reflection has ever begun.”

A strange thing: Professor Prost's lecture ended with a signing session.
A strange thing: Professor Prost’s lecture ended with a signing session.

From bioethanol to hybrids to synthetic fuels, for him, the solutions are multiple and viable. And to say that when friends come to him to ask him which car to buy, “The session is like a medical consultation. It lasts an hour, and the diagnosis depends on use, where you live, and many other criteria.”

Militant of the calm between the professionals and the antielectric ones, Alain Prost tries to reunite these two worlds even in the circuits. And one of his fights right now is to move the electric formula races, a discipline he committed to before giving up. “The FE should run to the opening of the F1 Grand Prix, on the same circuits, but in a shortened version, which is possible.” A way, according to him, to make the discipline known to a much wider audience than it is today. Meanwhile, the ex-pilot will have to make known, for two hours, his life, his struggles and his analyzes in an unexpected place, but in front of an audience that listened to him perfectly and received him very well.

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