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JANUARY 29, 2002

Criticism flies for Alain Prost

ALAIN PROST is not having a good week. Having been forced to close his team on Monday, he faced a barrage of criticism from the French racing community on Tuesday.

Jean Alesi, speaking in the influential Le Figaro newspaper said that Prost "has only himself to blame" and claimed that everyone in France was behind Prost but "he ruined everything".

Prost said that the failure of the team was a failure for France but the French racing community did not agree with him.

"It's a personal failure for Prost," Henri Pescarolo told French television. "You need qualities that, obviously, Prost did not have. I don't want people to get it wrong. It is not a handicap to be French. Prost's failure is his own."

Jacques Laffite, a longtime Prost ally, said that he did not think that Prost was "fully responsible for what happened".

Prost says that he intends to take a break to get some rest and then look at ways of returning to Formula 1 with a new project. Whether he can achieve that goal remains to be seen.