Alain Prost — Life in the Fast Lane

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by Alain Prost with Jean-Louis Moncet. 189pp. Stanley Paul and Co Ltd, Random Century House, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA.16.99.

It was perhaps unfortunate that I had taken this book as holiday reading; the family had gone to Monte Carlo for the day and I was left with some free time for some serious reading; but I was presented with a choice: should it be The Autobiography of a Liar by ex-Monty Python member Graham Chapman, who died last year, which I had been given years ago but had never read, or should I read Alain Prost? Business of pleasure? It was my holiday after all, so I put pleasure first.

Graham Chapman’s book was zany, confused, and parts of it downright disturbing, but what made the book invigorating and ultimately entertaining was that he did not pull any punches — remarks about former colleagues and friends were hilarious and toe-curling.

As the family were still giving the credit card a battering by the time I had finished this book, it enabled me to turn to Alain Prost, albeit with a little hesitancy. After the anarchic autobiography I had just read, my fears that the assuredly chronological piece by the little Frenchman was going to be dry and dull turned out to be well founded.

It was easy enough reading, though, and the slim volume was completed in one easy sitting, but by the end of it nothing new had been learnt. There were occasional outbursts from Prost on a few colleagues, but the remarks were about as inflammatory as Bruce Forsyth’s stated political ambitions. No insight was gained into the way Alain Prost’s mind works, no hints were given on his true feelings about the different situations he had found himself in over the years, and very little was learnt about those who have played a major part in his career. What we had here was a story bland enough to be shown on This is Your Life

The final chapter, which differentiates this paperback version from the hardback published last year, contained “interviews” by Derrick Allsop, except that the questions were statements and Prost’s answers could have been culled from Motoring News over the last 12 months. There were no fresh revelations here.

The one saving grace was the low price of £6.99. With that sort of money you can hardly go wrong — but on the other hand, why encourage publishers to continue producing this sort of boring work! WPK

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