Prost hails Verstappen's 'says what he thinks' style

Alain Prost (FRA) Alpine F1 Team Non-Executive Director. 11.12.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images
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Four-time Formula 1 world champion Alain Prost has said he's an admirer of Max Verstappen's forthright approach of speaking his mind, even when it ends up causing a few headaches in the paddock.

Since becoming champion for the first time in 2021, Verstappen has made a habit of coming up with controversial opinions on everything from the deficiencies of the sprint race format to the suitability of Las Vegas as a race venue.

Verstappen was quoted as saying that the Vegas street circuit looked bland and uninteresting, and that the drivers ‘looked like clowns’ during the opening ceremony, but seemed much happier after winning the inaugural event.

Verstappen's comments have made life uncomfortable at times for the management of Formula 1, the FIA and local promotors, but no one - not even Helmut Marko - has yet been able to persuade Verstappen to take the edge off his comments.

Prost for one is glad to see Verstappen sticking to his guns when he has a point to make, and hopes that it continues and doesn't get watered down by commercial and business interests.

“I like him very much because he’s a little bit different in the way he thinks and speaks,” the 68-year-old told MotorSport Magazine in January. “Even in Las Vegas he was focused on racing and winning.

"People can like him or not, but at least you have to recognise you're not obliged to have the same approach," Prost continued.

"It’s good to see a driver like him," he added. "I was very pleased to listen to what he also said about not liking the sprint races.

"He says what he thinks and is not afraid by the political game. I like that.”

Verstappen is not the only current driver to get Prost's stamp of approval for telling it like it is. The Frenchman also liked the way that Fernando Alonso doesn't hold back when something was on his mind.

Prost was pleased to see Alonso back on form after his move to Aston Martin at the start of 2023 resulted in eight podiums over the course of the season.

“This past year at Aston Martin for sure he did a fantastic season," said Prost. “I was very worried before he came, and he really surprised me in a good way. He was really good, no problems, no politics."

Prost had previous worked with Alonso when the Spaniard raced for Renault works team Alpine in 2021.

“He really impressed me in the first year he came to Alpine, not only on the track but outside, by the way he was handling things."

Prost has since parted company with Alpine, and was critical of the team's purge of senior management figures before the Belgian GP saying that the situation at Enstone "saddens and distresses me".

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