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Prost returns to the F1 fray

©WRI2

After an outstanding career which garnered 51 race wins and four world titles, Alain Prost returned to F1 as a team owner on this day in 1997.

The French F1 legend completed the buy-out of the Ligier team and changed the name to Prost. There was no time to build a new car, so the squad relied on the Ligier JS45 designed over the winter by Loic Bigois.

Olivier Panis was Prost's lead driver, flanked by Japanese hopeful Shinji Nakano. The team enjoyed a strong start to its campaign, with podium finishes in Brazil and Spain, but Panis' crash in Canada put the Frenchman out of contention for most of the season, with rookie Jarno Trulli taking over.

Unfortunately, 1997 was as good as it got for Prost. It was pretty much all downhill thereafter until the team's inevitable demise at the end of 2001.