Ferrari would run car numbers 1 & 2 for the first time since the 1980 season, albeit only by default with the signing of World Champion Alain Prost. Le Professeur and Il Leone would be a strong driver line-up as long as the car was good. Designer John Barnard, who was responsible for the excellent 640 chassis, had suddenly announced his departure from the team to head to Benetton late in the 1989 season (to the chagrin of Prost who had been looking forward to working with the talented Barnard) so it was former McLaren designer Steve Nichols who adapted it with revised aerodynamics and a slightly longer wheelbase into the 641. The team seemed to have ironed out most of their reliability problems by the end of 1989 and all concerned hoped 1990 could deliver the first Drivers’ title to Maranello since Jody Scheckter in 1979.
1. Alain Prost (left)
Whether Prost felt his third world title was soured by the situation with Senna and the FIA, only he would know, but it was clear fairly early on that there simply wasn’t room for both of them in the McLaren team. The Tifosi made their feelings about Prost’s arrival clear at Monza when they cheered their former object of hate as he overtook Berger’s Ferrari; how Prost will deal with Maranello’s infamous internal politics remains to be seen.
2. Nigel Mansell (right)
Nigel has been taken to the Ferrari fans’ hearts following a maiden win and a series of trademark gutsy drives, but he must be nervously looking at the arrival of Prost with the memory of his relationship with Piquet in his mind. Ferrari have paid a lot of money for Prost, and Mansell will worry that he will be playing second fiddle; he will need to make sure that he remains on top of his game to keep everyone on-side.