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  1. #1
    Senior Member journeyman racer's Avatar
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    Prost's tests with Ligier

    Some of you might remember. After a terrible season with Ferrari in 91. Prost was left in the lurch with the big teams and tested with back half runners Ligier during the 1991/92 off season.

    I remember seeing footage of it. I thought "Gee. Prost had a bad year. But he's still a world champion, one of the best drivers. Now forced to drive a bad car..."

    But as the turns out. Wasn't that bad a car at all. In fact, it was very, very good. In the Benetton range at the time!

    I was left gobsmacked when listening to the Motorsport magazine podcast interviewing Frank Dernie. I could not believe the performance he said Prost was producing with the Ligier JS37. He was saying that in qualifying trim, Prost was 2secs a lap quicker than Thierry Boutsen. In race trim, he was up to 1.6 secs quicker.

    I was stunned. I immediately went to check what could've happened had Prost drove for them in 92. In the next post,. I'll show the likely outcome. Knowing what I know now. I wish Prost did drive for them. He would've rocked the applecart alright, and maybe taken the shine off Mansell's sensational season. It would've been tremendous to see what he could've done for a team that didn't score a point in 91, and hadn't scored a podium since 86.

  2. #2
    Senior Member journeyman racer's Avatar
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    So this is what I've found. If we go by being 2secs quicker than Boutsen, as Frank Dernie said.

    South Africa. Boutsen qualified 14th, 3.81 secs off pole. The hypothetical Prost would've qualified 6th, ahead of both Benetton's.

    Mexico. Boutsen, 22nd, 4.049 off pole. Hypothetical Prost would've qualified 4th, ahead of both McLaren's, Brundle and Alesi.

    Brazil. Boutsen, 10th, 3.335 off pole Hypothetical Prost would've qualified 3rd. Beaten by both Williams'.

    Spain. Boutsen, 14th, 4.393 off pole. Hypothetical Prost would've qualified 7th, ahead of Berger and Alesi.

    San Marino. Boutsen, 10th. No time available to tell.

    Monaco. Boutsen, 22nd, 4.414 off pole. Hypothetical Prost would've qualified 7th, ahead of Brundle.

    Canada. Boutsen, 21st, 3.428 off pole. Hypothetical Prost would've qualified 6th, ahead of Brundle and Alesi.

    France. Boutsen, 9th. No times available.

    Britain. Boutsen, 13th, 5.58 off pole. Hypothetical Prost would've qualified 6th ahead of Brundle and Alesi.

    Germany. Boutsen, 8th. No times available. But even Boutsen qualified ahead of Brundle.

    Hungary. Boutsen, 8th, 3.14 off pole, and already ahead of Alesi. Hypothetical Prost would've qualified 5th, ahead of Brundle and Berger as well.

    Belgium. Boutsen, 7th. No times available. But already ahead of Brundle.

    Italy. Boutsen, 8th, 2.192 off pole. Hypothetical Prost would've qualified 2nd! Only beaten by Mansell.

    Portugal. Boutsen, 11th. No times available.

    Japan. Boutsen, 10th. Already ahead of Brundle and Alesi.

    Australia. Boutsen, 22nd. No times available. Noting that Boutsen's teammate, Eric Comas, qualified 9th.

    Between Boutsen and Comas, they only scored 6pts. The hypothetical Prost looks like he might've got 6 podiums! It fascinates me to think what he could've done. When I have time, I'll have to figure out a fair likely outcome had he participated for Ligier that season.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rollo's Avatar
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    Video of one of such said tests - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDg3lMv1Q30
    The Old Republic was a stupidly run organisation which deserved to be taken over. All Hail Palpatine!

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    This is a good observation. I recall that around 1992 and after Ligier cars had fairly strong or commendable results. In 1992 they improved over 1991 significantly, and in 1993-96 they had outright a whole bunch of strong podium finishes. The car was probably good, as well as the drivers. And don't forget the dominant Renault engine they could use until end of 1994. How could such a good team, and the last all-French team, disappear after that?

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    In don't have time to go through the whole season atm. So to start with. I'll look at just South Africa and Mexico. Without trying to embellish Prost.

    South Africa. Looking at the qualifying and race results, and how they correlate. Schumacher is the only one who qualified behind Prost's hypothetical 6th position that ended in front of a driver who qualified ahead. Finishing 4th in front of Berger 5th.

    This being the case. I think Prost would've been good enough to finish 4th. However with Boutsen specifically being the one we're making the comparison with. He suffered a mechanical failure. So I think it's fair to say Prost would've had that failure as well. Otherwise, we're adding too many variables.

    Mexico. Nobody who qualifed behind Prost's hypothetical 4th finished ahead of anyone who did qualify ahead of him. It was a race Boutsen finished. So we'll credit Prost with a 4th place and 3pts with that one.

  6. #6
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    Boutsen times:Imola 1.25.043 , Magny 1.16.806 , Hockenheim 1.42.112 , Spa 1.54.654 , Estoril 1.16.930 , Adelaide 1.17.957(1.16.727 for Comas)

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    Thanks macebig. But if you know the times for the whole grid, and where Prost could've ended up, then that'll be great.

  9. #8
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    Lets see:
    Imola : Pole Time :1'21.842 Nigel Mansell
    Prost Estimation 1'23.043 3rd

    Magny: Pole Time :1'13.864 Nigel Mansell
    Prost Estimation 1'14.806 3rd

    Hockenheim: Pole Time :1'37.960 Nigel Mansell
    Prost Estimation 1'40.112 5th

    Spa: Pole Time :1'50.545 Nigel Mansell
    Prost Estimation 1'52.654 2nd

    Estoril: Pole Time :1'13.041 Nigel Mansell
    Prost Estimation 1'14.930 4th

    Adelaide: Pole Time :1'13.732 Nigel Mansell
    Prost Estimation 1'14.727 4th(With Comas time) - 1'15.957 6th(With Boutsen's time)

  10. #9
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    2 seconds at which circuit? It doesn't automatically mean 2 secs at every track but should be prorata-ed to reflect longer and shorter lap times.
    Duncan Rollo

    The more you learn, the more you realise how little you know.

  11. #10
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    Tbf. It's too hard to figure that out.

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