Prost AP04 Acer
Team: Prost Grand Prix
Drivers: Jean Alesi (22), Heinz-Harald Frentzen (22), Gastón Mazzacane (23), Luciano Burti (23), Tomáš Enge (23)
The Prost AP04 was the last car of the Prost team that ran a Formula One championship. The team had switched from the unreliable Peugeot engines to Ferrari, fitting an entire Ferrari transmission into the car as well. The engines though were re-badged as 'Acer' to represent the team's title sponsor.
The team's switch to Ferrari engines was a necessary one, but would eventually also become the cause of the team's collapse. The reliability that came with the engine, gearbox and rear suspension deal had a hefty price tag. A provisional contract between Prost and Ferrari, as seen by journalist Adam Cooper, stated that Prost would have to pay $28m, $30m and $32m for the privilege of using the Italian engines over the next three years – and it was weighted so that he was always paying well in advance.
Despite setting quick laptimes during winter testing, the car appeared much slower when the season began, suggesting that the team were running an underweight car in testing to attract sponsors. The car was a regular midfield runner, especially in the hands of Jean Alesi. The Frenchman managed to score the team's only 4 points before leaving to Jordan GP after the German GP. Heinz-Harald Frentzen replaced him after he got sacked at Jordan GP.
On the #23 car Mazzacane was dropped after 4 races to be replaced by Luciano Burti. He went quicker but scrapped two chassis, the last one at Spa where he suffered injuries that made it impossible for him to continue racing that year. Tomáš Enge was brought in and performed reasonably well, but his write-off of a chassis at Japan made the financial situation of Prost GP worse than it had ever been.
The team finished the constructors' championship in 9th position.
Chassis: Carbon composite monocoque designed and manufactured at Prost Grand Prix.
Front Suspension: Push rod operated torsion bars and carbon composite wishbones.
Rear suspension: Push rod operated torsion bars and steel wishbones
Brakes: Prost Grand Prix system. AP Racing callipers.
Transmission: Longitudinal semi-automatic seven-speed gearbox. Hand controlled AP Racing multi-plate carbon clutch.
Race wheels: BBS forged magnesium alloy.
Water cooling system: Symetric radiators in each side pod.
Engine cooling system: Symetric radiators in each side pod.
Gearbox and hydraulics cooling system: Radiator on right hand side of engine Secan cores
Electric system: 12-Volt system with lightweight batteries.
Fuel system: ATL rubber fuel cell mounted within the monocoque structure behind the cockpit
Electronics: Magnetti Marelli
Designation: Acer AP04 (re-badged Ferrari engine)
Configuration: 90-degree V10
Displacement: 2997 cc
Cylinder Block: aluminium
Number of Camshafts: 4 OHC
Camshaft Drive: Gears
Number of Valves: 40 with pneumatic return
Ignition & Injection System: Magneti Marelli
Oil System: Dry sump
Weight: under 110 Kg