Prost lured back as test driver

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 February, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 February, 1994, 12:00am

FORMULA One World Champion Alain Prost is to test drive for McLaren and could still race for them this season, team boss Ron Dennis has said.

The Frenchman has been tempted back to the team where he won three of his four world titles because it now gets V10 engines from French car maker Peugeot.

Prost, who will be 39 this month, retired after winning his last drivers' title with Williams Renault in 1993. But he has been at the centre of protracted speculation that his decision would soon be overturned.

The Frenchman went to the team headquarters in Woking on Tuesday for a seat fitting, Dennis said in announcing Prost's return in a statement.

''The invitation to drive the all-new Peugeot-powered McLaren MP4/9 will hopefully lead to Alain driving for Marlboro McLaren Peugeot in the coming Formula One season,'' Dennis said.

McLaren have so far only named one driver for this season, the Finn Mika Hakkinen, who crashed the car during a test spin last week.

Dennis added that Prost had been ''happy'' to accept the team's offer to test drive the new car. It will be on a non-contract basis.

''The invitation must be understood within the context of the long and warm friendship that Alain and I have had, on and off the racing track, for 10 years,'' Dennis said. ''When Alain tests, he will do so as a free agent.''