Alain Prost’s stint as a Ferrari F1 driver didn’t live up to expectations, but at least he got a Ferrari F40 out of the deal. Now that car is headed to auction.
Delivered new to Prost during his first season with Ferrari, this 1990 F40 will be auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s on May 10. It’s a prime example of an iconic supercar, one that’s also tied to one of F1’s classic tales.
Prost came to Ferrari for the 1990 season as the reigning driver’s champion, having defeated arch rival and McLaren teammate Ayrton Senna in controversial fashion at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix. The French driver collided with his Brazilian teammate, who went on to win the race, but was disqualified for using an escape road to rejoin the circuit after the collision.
Leaving the toxic intra-team rivalry at McLaren behind, Prost decamped to Ferrari as a three-time champion. Symbolizing the changes underway at Ferrari at the turn of the decade, Prost was the first driver signed after the death of Enzo Ferrari, and was gifted the F40—the last car developed while Ferrari was still alive—for use as his personal road car.
Launched in 1987, the F40 immediately put other supercar builders on notice with a 200-mph top speed—making it the fastest production car in the world at the time. A 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 produced a then-impressive 471 hp, although catastrophic turbo lag meant a Buick GNX could beat it in the quarter-mile. Today, the F40 is still held in high regard for its analog nature and outrageous styling.
According to the auction listing, Prost took delivery of the car but never used it. He didn’t last long at Ferrari, either, famously getting fired from the team midway through the 1991 season. This was after Senna repaid the favor at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix, crashing into Prost in the first corner to secure the Drivers’ Championship for himself. The Frenchman returned to F1 in 1993 with Williams, winning a fourth championship and retiring at the end of the season.
Prost’s F40, meanwhile, was sold to Ferrari collector Graham de Zille. Prost signed the roof prior to sending the car off to its new home. The signature was clear-coated and is still faintly visible. The F40 has been driven just under 2,900 miles since new, according to the listing. It was also built without the catalytic converters and adjustable suspension added to later examples—which RM claims is a more desirable spec.
All of that explains the pre-auction estimate of $2.7 to $3.3 million—not surprising for a great car once owned (albeit briefly) by one of F1’s greatest drivers.
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