|Suspension (front)||torsion bars, dampers|
|Suspension (rear)||torsion bars, dampers|
|Engine||Acer-badged Ferrari V10 (90°) naturally aspirated|
|Transmission||Ferrari 7-speed titanium and carbon longitudinal semi-automatic sequential|
|Notable entrants||Prost Acer|
|Notable drivers||22. Jean Alesi
22. Heinz-Harald Frentzen
23. Gastón Mazzacane
23. Luciano Burti
23. Tomáš Enge
|Debut||2001 Australian Grand Prix|
The Prost AP04 was the car with which the Prost team competed in the 2001 Formula One season. It was initially driven by the experienced Jean Alesi, who was in his second year with the team, and Gastón Mazzacane, who brought valuable PSN sponsorship from Minardi after almost all the sponsors are gone, including title sponsor Gauloises, putting the team into serious financial problems. Eventually, Acer became the team's new title sponsors for the season.
For Prost, 2001 was a season of struggle as Alain Prost struggled to keep the team going. Initially, things looked quite promising after the catastrophic 2000 season, with the Diniz family becoming shareholders and bringing Parmalat sponsorship to the team. The AP04 also used a Ferrari engine and transmission, although the former was badged as an Acer in deference to the team's title sponsor. Prost was also one of several teams to opt for the new Michelin tyres on the French company's return to the sport. Alesi set fast times in winter testing, and the car appeared to show capable speed.
However, the team were mired in the midfield once the season began, fueling the speculation that the team had run an illegally fast car to attract sponsors. However, the cars were much more reliable than the previous distratrous AP03, Alesi finishing all 12 races he had with the team. In the process he scored four precious points, he fell out of favour to team principal Alain Prost and left the team for Jordan after the German GP to replace the sacked Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The German took over Alesi's role as team leader, but could not add to the points tally.
The team's driver problems were even more acute in the #23 car. Mazzacane was dropped after four races in favour of fellow-South American Luciano Burti, who had himself been dropped by Jaguar. Burti was quicker but also got involved in two enormous accidents which wrote off two chassis. The latter, at the Belgian GP put him out for the rest of the season. His replacement, Tomáš Enge, performed competently, but destroyed another car at the Japanese GP.
By the end of the season, however, the focus was firmly on Prost's impending collapse. Prost had fallen out with Diniz and his father, and the team was running out of money. Various deals to buy the team came to nought, and Prost did not survive into 2002. The cars and other assets were bought by Phoenix Finance, which attempted to enter a team for 2002 and 2003, but were barred from doing so by the FIA, as they had not bought Prost's entry or paid the mandatory bond for new teams.
The team eventually finished ninth in the Constructors' Championship, with four points.
Complete Formula One results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position)
|2001||Prost Acer||Acer V10||M||AUS||MAL||BRA||SMR||ESP||AUT||MON||CAN||EUR||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||USA||JPN||4||9th|
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