Bercy: final duel between Senna and Prost took place on go-karts
In December 18th and 19th, 1993, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost took part in a charity go-kart race held in Paris, at French capital’s neighborhood of Bercy. The F1-driver-filled race was marked by the last duel between both world champions, since Prost was set to retire from the biggest category in motor sports at the end of the year.
Something else attracted attention during the indoor race: Senna’s racing suit. The Brazilian was leaving McLaren, the team for which he’d won three championships. Since his contract was valid until December 31st, the driver couldn’t wear a suit with William’s colors and sponsors – the team he would drive for in 1994. With his wardrobe choices limited by the legal issue, Senna wore a white racing suit, featuring only his personal sponsors, when driving the #2 kart.
Teams were made up of an F1 driver and a go-kart rookie. Two races took place, and it was the second one that caught the public’s eye, since both Senna’s and Prost’s karts had problems during the first race.
Race number two was mostly led by Andrea de Cesaris, but always with Senna and Prost at his heels. The fight for second place between the former McLaren teammates was intense during most of the race, with Senna coming out on top after several exciting moments.
But when Ayrton was getting ready to pass de Cesaris and become the leader, his go-kart started presenting mechanical problems and he had to retire less than seven minutes away from the race’s end. Ayrton’s team ended up in third place overall, in a dispute that had Prost as the winner and de Cesaris in second place.
At the end of the event, Senna talked to reporters about the differences between driving a go-kart and an open-wheel car: “You have to drive the kart sideways, because they’re so small – the base and the tires are small – so you have to react fast. You’re always driving sideways, because that’s the only way to attain sufficient grip. It’s a very different driving style from a racecar’s”, said Senna, who kept explaining: “In a racecar, if you lean over only one side, it will spin out and away from the track. In a go-kart, you have to be hard and aggressive, but also precise. You use your body, and the seat ends up hurting most drivers, especially if you’re out of practice”, added the three-time F1 world champion.
And right after the contest, our champion met with football superstar Raí.