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Senna Versus Prost: The Story of the Most Deadly Rivalry in Formula One Paperback – June 7, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Excellent."  —Motor Sport


"A superb insight into antagonism between F1 teammates."  —Daily Mirror

About the Author

Malcolm Folley is chief sports reporter for the Mail on Sunday. He is the author of numerous books, including Borg Versus McEnroe.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK (May 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099528096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099528098
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. Hannam on August 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
The impression it leaves me is that Folley was so delighted and gratified to be given a nice lunch and a fairly in depth interview by Prost in his Paris apartment in 2008 that his efforts to remain impartial thereafter collapsed into a morass of subtle and not so subtle slips that reaffirmed the narrative of Prost as the ultimate gentleman and Senna as the fragile and ruthless newbie who came and stole it all away. As such, the Folley narrative ranges from fair and balanced, to being rantingly anti-Senna. To the extent that Senna's story is told, or his point of view heard in retrospect, it is through the words of the others of the time: Warwick, Brundle, Berger, Walker, Jardine, Leberer et al, who Folley has at least taken the trouble to interview and quote. (Brundle is impressively self-effacing and candid about his standing against Senna...no agenda there. Warwick is also remarkably gracious, as he has been over the years about Senna, who he retains an immense respect for). Meanwhile, Folley's faithful repetition, without the slightest irony, of Prost's claim about Suzuka in '89: "I had no interest to make a crash", is a case in point. This is as disingenuous a statement as we have heard from Alain, up there with his equally laughable claim that he never blocked Senna from the Williams team for 1993 (we all know he did, and Senna called his bluff with his 'I'll drive for free' offer to Williams, to make the point). But the narrative treats it without the slightest scepticism, having described the Suzuka collision simply as "a brash manoeuvre" on Senna's part, which "hopelessly misjudged Prost's mood".Read more ›
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Rating:
5 of 5 stars (Outstanding)

Review:
Auto racing in all forms has had many fierce rivalries between drivers over the years, and one of the most bitter rivalries came in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s between Aryton Senna of Brazil and Alain Prost of France in Formula 1 racing. This rivalry is documented in a book by Malcolm Foley in which he captures the rivalry through research and personal stories and recollections by many of the personnel involved with the two drivers as well at Prost himself, the surviving driver of the two rivals as Senna was killed while on the course in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

The writing in this book is very good as the reader will learn much about the workings within the various driving teams in Formula 1. The casual fan may know that a driver is part of the McLaren or Lotus team, for example, but the negotiations, contracts, and interaction between the parties is illustrated in the segments about the two drivers either changing teams or stating that they wish to do so. There are also other great passages about what took place during races between the two rivals, what teammates remembered about the drivers and even some personal moments shared.

Some other reviewers of this book have been vocal in their opinions that this book was heavily biased toward Prost, mainly because the author was allegedly grateful to just be able to speak with the French driver. This review is not going to state any opinions on this matter as being a casual fan of the sport at best, I do not have the extensive knowledge of the history of the sport or the two drivers, so this review is simply one of the book itself.
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Well written. Better look at Senna than Prost. Prost comes off as a well grounded technocrat who drives better than others. Senna appears to be a lost soul who, with apologies to fighter pilots everywhere, would rather die than look bad. Author's ample use of extensive quotes caused me to lose track of who was doing the telling. Excellent look into the politics of F1 and those behind the scenes.
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Great drivers, especially dead ones, provoke intense feelings from their fans. When those are rivals, that intensity increases at an exponential rate with the result that an author may make the most innocent of statements and fans will see that as the gravest of insults of their idols. I believe Folley did an excellent, though thankless, job of presenting a balanced racing biography of Senna and Prost during their prime. If the Senna fan is looking for an expose' showing Prost to be a manipulating politician rather than a great driver, then that fan will be disippointed. Conversely, the Prost fan looking for vendication of his beleif that Senna was a maniac who was willing to kill other drivers in order to win will be equally disheartened. To enjoy this book, the reader should try to read it for what it is, a snapshot of a great rivalry in the late 1980'2 through mid 1990's.
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Folley writes well, with a sensitivity and understanding that conveys the passion, danger, politics, finances, and psychology of Formula One. I couldn't put this book down, and never felt annoyed by his style or reveal of the story. I could smell the pits. Folley offered much less of the groupie life than Rubython did in Shunt, but the story was much more beautifully and artfully crafted.
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