Alain Prost completed the purchase of the Ligier team in early 1997, and immediately changed the name to Prost. An exclusive contract for Peugeot engines was announced for 1998, but the team continued with Ligier's planned Mugen-Honda engines for 1997. As there was no time before the season started to design and build a new car, the team simply used the Ligier JS45 designed by Loïc Bigois and renamed it the Prost JS45. Podium finishes in Brazil (third) and Spain (second) for Olivier Panis promised much, but the Frenchman crashed heavily at high speed in Canada, breaking both his legs.
After such a promising 1997, things took a turn for the worse in the following seasons. Only Trulli's sixth at Spa kept the team from last in the standings. 1999 saw an improvement, several points finishes achieved and a second place coming by way of Trulli's strong drive at the Nürburgring. In the first few races of 1998, the team also ran with X-wings until these were banned on safety grounds.
In 2000 the team began its sharp decline. Veteran racer Jean Alesi, Prost's former teammate at Ferrari in 1991, was signed to the team. The team also signed up rookie F3000 champion Nick Heidfeld for 2000. Despite a promising driver lineup, Prost finished last in the Constructors Championship, failing to score a single point during the season.
In 2001 the cars now ran with Acer-badged Ferrari engines. Alesi was very consistent, finishing every race, occasionally in points scoring positions. At the end of the season, speculation began surrounding the fate of the team in the light of its increasing debts. Finally, in early 2002 the team went bankrupt.
Activity: 1997 - 2001 Grand Prix: 83 Best Result: 2nd - O. Panis (Spain 1997) / J. Trulli (Austria 1999) Best Grid Position: 3rd - O. Panis (Argentine 1997, France 1999) / J. Trulli (Austria 1997) Fastest Laps: 0 Championship Points: 35