Ayrton Senna: Wikis

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This is a Portuguese name; the first family name is Senna and the second is Silva.
Ayrton Senna
Ayrton Senna Imola 1989 Cropped.jpg
Senna at the 1989 San Marino Grand Prix
Nationality  Brazilian
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 19841994
Teams Toleman, Lotus, McLaren, Williams
Races 162 (161 starts)
Championships 3 (1988, 1990, 1991)
Wins 41
Podiums 80
Career points 610 (614)[1]
Pole positions 65
Fastest laps 19
First race 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix
First win 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix
Last win 1993 Australian Grand Prix
Last race 1994 San Marino Grand Prix

Ayrton Senna da Silva, (pronounced ayrton senna da silva.ogg [aˈiɾtõ ˈsenɐ da ˈsiwvɐ] , São Paulo, March 21, 1960, – Bologna Italy May 1, 1994) was a Brazilian racing driver and three-time Formula One world champion. He was killed in a crash while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, and remains the most recent Grand Prix driver to die at the wheel of a Formula One car.

Senna began his motorsport career in karting and moved up the ranks to win the British Formula 3 championship in 1983. Making his Formula One debut with Toleman in 1984, he moved to Lotus-Renault the following year, and won six Grands Prix over the next three seasons. In 1988 he joined Frenchman Alain Prost at McLaren-Honda. Between them, Senna and Prost won fifteen out of the sixteen Grands Prix which took place that season, with Senna winning his first World Championship, a title he would go on to win again in 1990 and 1991. McLaren's performance declined in 1992, as the Williams-Renault combination began to dominate the sport, although Senna won five races to finish as runner-up in 1993. He moved to Williams in 1994, but suffered a fatal accident at the third race of the season at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Italy.

Senna is regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of Formula One.[2][3][4] In 2009, a poll of 217 current and former Formula One drivers chose Senna as their greatest Formula One driver, in a survey conducted by British magazine Autosport.[5][6] He was recognised for his qualifying speed over one lap and from 1989 until 2006 held the record for most pole positions. He was among the most talented drivers in extremely rain-affected conditions, as shown by his performances in the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix, and the 1993 European Grand Prix. He also holds the record for most victories at the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix (6) and is the third most successful driver of all time in terms of race wins. However, Senna courted controversy throughout his career, particularly during his turbulent rivalry with Alain Prost, which was marked by two championship-deciding collisions at the 1989 and 1990 Japanese Grands Prix.

Contents

Early career

Senna's first kart was a small 1HP go-kart, a gift rejected by his older sister Viviane. Senna entered karting competition at the age of 13.[7] In 1977 he won the South American Kart Championship. He contested the Karting World Championship each year from 1978 to 1982, finishing runner-up in 1979 and 1980.[8]

In 1981 Senna moved to England to begin single-seater racing, winning the RAC and Townsend-Thoreson Formula Ford 1600 Championships that year with the Van Diemen team. Despite this, Senna initially did not believe he would continue in motorsport, and at the end of the season, under pressure from his parents to take up a role in the family business, he returned to Brazil.[9] Prior to him leaving England, Senna was offered a drive with a Formula Ford 2000 team for £10,000. He decided to take up this offer, and returned to live in England. As Silva is a very common Brazilian name, he adopted his mother's maiden name, Senna.[10] Senna went on to win the 1982 British and European Formula Ford 2000 championships under that surname.

In 1983 he drove in the British Formula Three Championship with the West Surrey Racing team. Senna dominated the first half of the season but Martin Brundle, who drove a similar car for Eddie Jordan Racing, closed the gap in the second part of the championship. Senna won the title at the final round at Thruxton after a closely-fought and, at times, acrimonious battle.[11] In November of the same year, he triumphed at the inaugural Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix with Teddy Yip's Theodore Racing Team.[12][13]

Formula One career

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1984: Toleman

Senna's Toleman TG184 from 1984 on display in the Donington Grand Prix Collection.

Senna attracted the attention of Formula One teams Williams, McLaren, Brabham and Toleman, all of whom he tested for. Neither Williams nor McLaren had a vacancy for the 1984 season. His name was linked to Brabham's second seat, but Brabham's lead driver, double world champion Nelson Piquet, preferred Teo Fabi, while title sponsor Parmalat wanted an Italian driver. His only option was to join Toleman, a relatively new team, replacing Derek Warwick.[14][15]

Senna made his debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro. He scored his first World Championship point in his second race at the South African Grand Prix, replicating that result two weeks later at the Belgian Grand Prix. A combination of tyre issues and a fuel pressure problem resulted in his failure to qualify for the San Marino Grand Prix, the only time this happened during his career.[16] Senna's best result of the season came at the Monaco Grand Prix, which was affected by heavy rain. Qualifying 13th on the grid, he made steady progress in climbing through the field, passing Niki Lauda for second on lap 19. He quickly began to cut the gap to race leader Alain Prost, but before he could attack Prost the race was stopped on lap 31 for safety reasons, as the rain had grown even heavier. At the time the race was stopped Senna was catching Prost at 4 seconds per lap.[17] Senna finally passed Prost during the 32nd lap at the end of which the red flag was shown. However according to the rules, the positions counted were those from the last lap completed by every driver, lap 31, at which point Prost was still leading.[18] Senna's second place was his first podium in Formula One.

He took two more podium finishes that year - third at the British and Portuguese Grands Prix - and placed 9th in the Drivers Championship with 13 points overall. He did not take part in the Italian Grand Prix after he was suspended by Toleman for being in breach of his contract by signing for Lotus for 1985 without informing the Toleman team first.[19]

Senna also raced in two high-profile non-Formula One races in 1984: The ADAC 1000 km Nürburgring where, alongside Henri Pescarolo and Stefan Johansson, he co-drove a Joest Racing Porsche 956 to finish 8th, as well as an exhibition race to celebrate the opening of the new Nürburgring, which was attended by several Formula 1 drivers, each driving identical Mercedes 190E 2.3-16. Senna won from Niki Lauda and Carlos Reutemann.[20][21] After the race Senna was quoted as saying, "Now I know I can do it."[22]

1985-1987: Lotus

1985

Senna was partnered in his first year at Lotus-Renault by Italian driver Elio de Angelis. At the second round of the season, the Portuguese Grand Prix, Senna took the first pole position of his Formula 1 career. He converted it into his first victory in the race, which was held in very wet conditions, winning by over a minute from Michele Alboreto.[23] He would not finish in the points again until coming second at the Austrian Grand Prix, despite taking pole three more times in the intervening period. (His determination to take pole at the Monaco Grand Prix had infuriated Alboreto and Niki Lauda; Senna had set a fast time early and was accused of deliberately baulking the other drivers by running more laps than necessary, a charge he rejected.)[24] Two more podiums followed in Holland and Italy, before Senna added his second victory, again in the wet, at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.[25] Senna's relationship with De Angelis soured over the season, as both drivers demanded top driver status within Lotus and, after spending six years at the team, De Angelis departed for Brabham at the end of the year, convinced that Lotus were becoming focused around the Brazilian.[26] Senna and De Angelis finished the season 4th and 5th respectively in the driver rankings, separated by five points. In terms of qualifying, however, Senna had begun to establish himself as the quickest in the field: his tally of seven poles that season was far more than that of any of the other drivers.

1986
Senna driving for Lotus at the 1986 British Grand Prix.

De Angelis was replaced at Lotus by Scottish peer Johnny Dumfries after Senna vetoed Derek Warwick from joining the team, saying that Lotus were not able to run competitive cars for two top drivers at the same time. Senna later admitted "It was bad, bad. Until then I had a good relationship with Derek."[27] Senna started the season well, coming second in Brazil and winning the Spanish Grand Prix by just 0.014s from Nigel Mansell - one of the closest finishes in Formula One history - to find himself leading the World Championship after two races.[28] However, poor reliability, particularly in the second half of the season, saw him drift behind the Williams pairing of Mansell and Piquet, as well as eventual champion, Alain Prost. Nonetheless, Senna was once more the top qualifier, with eight poles, and he took a further six podium finishes that season, including another victory at the Detroit Grand Prix, and finished the season fourth in the driver's standings again, with 55 points.

1987

Lotus had a new engine deal in 1987, running the same Honda engines as Williams had used to win the previous year’s Constructors' Championship, and with them came a new team-mate, 34 year-old Japanese driver, Satoru Nakajima. Senna started the season with mixed fortunes: a podium at the San Marino Grand Prix was tempered by controversy at the following race at Spa-Francorchamps, where he collided with Mansell and was confronted by the angered Englishman in the pits afterwards.[29] Senna then won two races in a row: the ensuing Monaco Grand Prix (the first of his record six victories at the Principality) and the Detroit Grand Prix, his second victory in two years at the Michigan street circuit, to take the lead in the World Championship. As the championship wore on however, it became evident that the Williams cars had the advantage over the rest of the field, the gap between the Honda-engined teams made most obvious at the British Grand Prix where Mansell and Piquet lapped the Lotuses of Senna and Nakajima. Senna became dissatisfied with his chances at Lotus and at Monza it was announced that he would be joining McLaren for 1988.[30] Senna finished the season strongly, coming second in the final two races in Japan and Australia, however post-race scrutineering at the final race found the brake ducts of his Lotus to be wider than permitted by the rules and he was disqualified, bringing his last and most successful season with Lotus to a sour end.[31] Senna was classified third in the final standings, with 57 points, one pole position and six podium finishes. This season marked a turning point in Senna's career as, throughout the year, he built a deep relationship with Honda, a relationship which would pay big dividends, as McLaren had secured Williams' supply of Honda's V6 turbo engines for 1988.[32]

1988-1993: McLaren

1988
Senna won his first World Championship in 1988. At his hands, the McLaren MP4/4.

In 1988, thanks to the relationship he had built up with Honda throughout the 1987 season with Lotus, and with the approval of McLaren's number one driver and then-double world champion, Alain Prost, Senna joined the McLaren team.[33] The foundation for a fierce competition between Senna and Prost was laid, culminating in a number of dramatic race incidents between the two over the next 5 years.[34] At the 1988 Portuguese Grand Prix, Prost got away slightly faster than Senna at the start but the Brazilian dived into the first corner ahead. Prost responded and went to pass Senna at the end of the first lap. Senna swerved to block Prost, forcing the Frenchman nearly to run into the pitwall at 180 mph (290 km/h). Prost kept his foot down and soon edged Senna into the first corner and started pulling away fast. Though Prost was angered by Senna's manoeuvre, the Brazilian got away with a warning from the FIA. Senna would later apologize to Prost for the incident. Ultimately, the pair won 15 of 16 races in the dominant McLaren MP4/4 in 1988 with Senna coming out on top, winning his first Formula One world championship title by taking 8 wins to Prost's 7 (Prost had scored more points over the season, but had to drop three 2nd places as only the 11 best scores counted).[35]

1989
Senna driving the McLaren MP4/5 in 1989.

The following year the rivalry between Senna and Prost intensified into battles on the track and a psychological war off it.[36] Tension and mistrust between the two drivers increased when Senna overtook Prost at the restart of the San Marino Grand Prix, a move which Prost claimed violated a pre-race agreement. Senna took an early lead in the championship with victories in three of the first four races, but unreliability in Phoenix, Canada, France, Britain and Italy together with collisions in Brazil and Portugal swung the title in Prost's favour.

Prost took the 1989 world title after a collision with Senna at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan, the penultimate race of the season, which Senna needed to win to remain in contention for the title. Senna had attempted an inside pass on Prost who turned into the corner and cut him off, with the two McLarens finishing up with their wheels interlocked in the Suzuka chicane escape road. Senna then got a push-start from marshals, pitted to replace the damaged nose of his car, and rejoined the race. He took the lead from the Benetton of Alessandro Nannini and went on to finish first, only to be promptly disqualified by the FIA for cutting the chicane after the collision, and for crossing into the pit lane entry (not part of the track).[37] A large fine and temporary suspension of his Super License followed in the winter of 1989 and Senna engaged in a bitter war of words with the FIA and its then President Jean-Marie Balestre.[38] Senna finished the season 2nd with 6 wins and one 2nd place. Prost left McLaren for rivals Ferrari for the following year.

1990

In 1990, Senna took a commanding lead in the championship with 6 wins, two 2nd places and three 3rds. His most memorable victories were at the opening round in at Phoenix, in which he diced for the lead for several laps with a then-unknown Jean Alesi before coming out on top, and at Germany where he fought Benetton driver Alessandro Nannini throughout the race for the win. As the season reached its final quarter however, Alain Prost in his Ferrari rose to the challenge with 5 wins including a crucial victory in Spain where he and teammate Nigel Mansell finshed 1-2 for the Scuderia. Senna had gone out with a damaged radiator and the gap between Senna and Prost was now reduced to 11 points with 2 races to go.

At the penultimate round of the Championship in Japan at Suzuka (the same circuit where Senna and Prost had their collision a year before), Senna took pole ahead of Prost. The pole position in Suzuka was on the right-hand, dirty side of the track. Prost's Ferrari made a better start and pulled ahead of Senna's McLaren. At the first turn Senna aggressively kept his line while Prost turned in and the McLaren ploughed into the rear wheel of Prost's Ferrari at about 270 km/h (170 mph), putting both cars off the track, this time making Senna the Formula 1 world champion.[39] A year later, after taking his third world championship, Senna explained to the press his actions of the previous year in Suzuka. He maintained that prior to qualifying fastest, he had sought and received assurances from race officials that pole position would be changed to the left-hand, clean side of the track, only to find this decision reversed by Jean-Marie Balestre after he had taken pole.[40] Explaining the collision with Prost, Senna said that what he had wanted was to make clear he was not going to accept what he perceived as unfair decisions by Balestre including his disqualification in 1989 and the pole position in 1990:

"I think what happened in 1989 was unforgivable, and I will never forget it. I still struggle to cope with it even now. You know what took place here: Prost and I crashed at the chicane, when he turned into me. Afterwards, I rejoined the race, and I won it, but they decided against me, and that was not justice. What happened afterwards was... a theatre, but I could not say what I thought. If you do that, you get penalties, you get fined, you lose your licence maybe. Is that a fair way of working? It is not...At Suzuka last year I asked the officials to change pole position from the right side of the track to the left. It was unfair, as it was, because the right side is always dirty, and there is less grip — you sweat to get pole position, and then you are penalized for it. And they said, "Yes, no problem". Then, what happened? Balestre gave an order that it wasn't to be changed. I know how the system works, and I thought this was really s***. So I said to myself, "OK, whatever happens, I'm going to get into the first corner first — I'm not prepared to let the guy (Alain Prost) turn into that corner before me. If I'm near enough to him, he can't turn in front of me — he just has to let me through." I didn't care if we crashed; I went for it. And he took a chance, turned in, and we crashed. It was building up, it was inevitable. It had to happen." So you did cause it then, someone said. "Why did I cause it?" Senna responded. "If you get f***** every time you try to do your job cleanly, within the system, what do you do? Stand back, and say thank you? No way. You should fight for what you think is right. If pole had been on the left, I'd have made it to the first corner in the lead, no problem. That was a bad decision to keep pole on the right, and it was influenced by Balestre. And the result was what happened in the first corner. I contributed to it, but it was not my responsibility".[41]

Prost would later go on record slamming Senna's actions as "disgusting" and that he seriously considered retiring from the sport after that incident.[33]

1991

Senna captured his third title in 1991, taking seven wins and staying largely clear of controversy. Prost, due to the downturn in performance at Ferrari, was no longer a serious competitor. He won the first 4 races. By mid-season, Nigel Mansell in the more advanced Williams was able to put up a challenge. There were some memorable moments, such as at the Spanish Grand Prix when Senna and Mansell went wheel to wheel with only centimetres to spare, at over 320 km/h (200 mph) down the main straight, a race that the Briton eventually won. Quite a different spectacle was offered following Mansell's victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Senna's car had come to a halt on the final lap but he was not left stranded out on the circuit, as Mansell pulled over on his parade lap and allowed the Brazilian to ride on the Williams side-pod back to the pits. Though Senna's consistency and the Williams's unreliability at the season start gave him an early advantage, Senna insisted that Honda step up their engine development program and demanded further improvements to the car before it was too late. These modifications enabled him to make a late season push and he managed to win 3 more races to secure the championship, which was settled for good in Japan (yet again) when Mansell (who needed to win), went off at the first corner while running 3rd and beached his Williams-Renault into the gravel trap. Senna finished 2nd, handing the victory to teammate Gerhard Berger at the last corner as a thank-you gesture for his support over the season.

1992

In 1992, Senna's absolute determination to win manifested itself in dismay at McLaren's inability to challenge Williams's all-conquering FW14B car.[42] McLaren's new car for the season had several shortcomings. There was delay in getting the new model running (it debuted in the third race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix) and in addition to lacking active suspension the new car suffered from reliability issues, was unpredictable in fast corners, while its Honda V12 engine was no longer the most powerful on the circuit.[43] Senna scored wins in Monaco, Hungary, and Italy that year. During qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, French driver Érik Comas crashed heavily and Senna was the first to arrive at the scene. He got out of his car and ran across the track to aid the Frenchman, disregarding his own safety in an effort to aid a fellow driver. He later went to visit Comas in hospital. However, Senna finished a disappointing fourth overall in the championship, behind the Williams duo of Mansell and Patrese, and Benetton's Michael Schumacher.[44][45]

1993
Senna came from the back of the field to finish fourth at the 1993 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

Questions about Senna's intentions for 1993 lingered throughout 1992 as he did not have a contract with any team by the end of the year. He felt the McLaren cars were less competitive than previously (especially after Honda bowed out of Formula 1 at the end of the 1992 season). Joining Williams alongside Prost (who had secured a drive for the team for 1993) became impossible since Prost had a clause on his contract vetoing Senna as a team-mate, even though the Brazilian offered to drive for free. An infuriated Senna called Prost a coward in a press conference in Estoril.[46][47] In December, Senna went to Phoenix, Arizona and tested Emerson Fittipaldi's Penske IndyCar.[48]

McLaren boss Ron Dennis meanwhile was trying to secure a supply of the dominant Renault V10 engine for 1993.[49] When this deal fell through, McLaren was forced to take a customer supply of Ford V8 engines.[50] As a customer team, McLaren got an engine that was two specifications behind that of Ford's factory team, Benetton, but hoped to make up for the inferior horsepower with mechanical sophistication, including an effective active suspension system.[51] Dennis then finally persuaded Senna to return to McLaren. But the Brazilian agreed only to sign up for the first race in South Africa, where he would assess whether McLaren’s equipment was competitive enough for him to put in a good season.

After driving McLaren's 1993 car, Senna concluded that the new car had a surprising potential albeit the engine was still down on power and would be no match for Prost’s Williams Renault.[52] Senna declined to sign a one-year contract but agreed to drive on a race-by-race basis, eventually staying for the year,[53] although some sources claim this was a marketing ploy between Dennis and Senna. After finishing second in the opening race in South Africa,[54] Senna won in constantly changing conditions at home in Brazil[55] and in the rain at Donington. The latter has often been regarded as one of Senna's greatest victories.[56] He started the race fourth and dropped to fifth on the run down to the first corner, but by the end of the first lap was leading the race. He went on to lap the entire field in a race where up to seven pit stops were required by some drivers for rain/slick tyres depending on the conditions.[57][58] Senna then scored a second place finish in Spain and a record breaking sixth win at Monaco.[59] After Monaco, the sixth race of the season, Senna led the championship ahead of Prost in the Williams-Renault and Benetton's Michael Schumacher despite McLaren’s inferior engine.[60] As the season progressed, Prost and Damon Hill asserted the superiority of the Williams-Renault car, with Prost securing the drivers' championship while Hill moved up to second in the standings. Senna concluded the season and his McLaren career with two wins in Japan and Australia, finishing 2nd overall in the championship.[51][61] The penultimate race was noted for an incident where Jordan's rookie Eddie Irvine unlapped himself against Senna. The incensed Brazilian later appeared at Jordan's garage and after a lengthy discussion, he proceeded to punch the Irishman.[62]

1994: Williams

Senna in the Williams FW16.

For 1994, Senna finally signed with the Williams-Renault team. Prost's contract clause forbidding Senna from joining Williams did not extend to 1994 and Prost retired with one year left on his contract, rather than face the prospect of being a team mate of his greatest rival.[63]

Williams had won the previous two World Championships with vastly superior cars, and Senna was a natural and presumptive pre-season title favourite, with second-year driver Damon Hill expected to play the supporting role. Between them, Prost, Senna, and Hill had won all but one race in 1993. Benetton's Michael Schumacher had won the remaining event.

Pre-season testing showed that the Williams car had speed, but it was difficult to drive. The FIA had banned electronic driver aids, such as active suspension, traction control and ABS, to make the sport more "human". The Williams was not a well-handling car at the start of 1994, as observed by other F1 drivers, having been seen to be very loose at the rear. Senna himself had made numerous (politically careful) comments that the Williams FW16 had some quirks which needed to be ironed out. It was obvious that the FW16, after the regulation changes banning active suspension and traction control, exhibited none of the superiority of the FW15C and FW14B cars that had preceded it. The surprise of testing was the Benetton team, whose car was more nimble than the Williams although less powerful.

The first race of the season was in Brazil, where Senna took pole. In the race Senna took an early lead but Schumacher's Benetton was never far behind. Schumacher took the race lead for good after passing Senna in the pits. Senna refused to settle for second. While trying for a win, he pushed too hard and spun the car, stalling it and retiring from the race.

The second race was the Pacific Grand Prix at Aida where Senna again placed the car on pole. However, he was hit from behind in the first corner by Mika Häkkinen and his race came to a definitive end when a Ferrari driven by Nicola Larini also crashed into his Williams. Hill also retired with transmission problems, while Schumacher took victory again.

It was Senna's worst start to an F1 season, failing to finish or score points in the first two races, despite taking pole both times. Schumacher was leading Senna in the drivers' championship by twenty points.[64]

Luca di Montezemolo is quoted saying that Senna came to him the Tuesday before the Imola race and praised Ferrari for the battle against electronics in F1. Senna also told Montezemolo that he would like to end his career with Ferrari.[65]

Death

Senna's fatal accident at the moment of impact.

At the third race of the season, the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, Senna, having not finished the two opening races of the season, declared that this was where his season would start, with fourteen races, as opposed to sixteen, in which to win the title.[66] Senna again placed the car on pole for the 65th and final time, but he was particularly upset by two events. On Friday, during the afternoon qualifying session, Senna's protégé Rubens Barrichello was involved in a serious accident when he slammed violently into the tyres at the Variante Bassa chicane, swallowing his tongue and suffering a broken nose and arm, which prevented him from competing in the race. The next day Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger was killed in qualifying in a devastating accident when the front wing broke in his Simtek-Ford while going flat out at the fast Villeneuve left-hander bend and into the concrete wall.

Senna spent his final morning meeting fellow drivers, determined after Ratzenberger's accident to take on a new responsibility to re-create a Drivers' Safety group (i.e. Grand Prix Drivers' Association) to increase safety in Formula One. As the most senior driver, he offered to take the role of leader in this effort.

Senna and the other drivers all opted to start the Grand Prix, but the race was interrupted by a huge accident at the start line when JJ Lehto's Benetton-Ford stalled, and an unsighted Pedro Lamy rammed him in his Lotus-Mugen Honda at nearly full speed. A wheel was torn off the car and landed in the main grandstand, injuring 8 fans and a police officer. A safety car was deployed and the drivers followed it for several laps. On the restart Senna immediately set a quick pace with the third quickest lap of the race, followed by Schumacher. As Senna entered the high-speed Tamburello corner on the next lap, the car left the track at high speed, hitting the concrete retaining wall at around 135 mph (217 km/h). Senna was removed from the car by Sid Watkins and his medical team and treated by the side of the car before being airlifted to Bologna hospital where 34 year old Senna was later declared dead. What had likely happened was that the right front wheel had shot up after impact like a catapult and violated the cockpit area where Senna was sitting. It impacted the right frontal area of his helmet, and the violence of the wheel’s impact pushed his head back against the headrest, causing fatal skull fractures. A piece of upright attached to the wheel had partially penetrated his helmet and made a big indent in his forehead. In addition, it appeared that a jagged piece of the upright assembly had penetrated the helmet visor just above his right eye. Any one of the three injuries would probably have killed him.[67] As track officials examined the wreckage of his racing car they found a furled Austrian flag—a victory flag that he was going to raise in honour of Austrian Roland Ratzenberger, who had died on that track during qualifying the day before.[68]

To this day, the cause of the accident has still not been fully determined with theories ranging from a steering column failure to the car simply bottoming out over the bumps on the Tamburello corner. Many court cases followed immediately afterwards, with Williams being investigated for manslaughter, although the charges were later dropped.

Funeral

Senna's grave.

Senna's death was considered by many of his Brazilian fans to be a national tragedy, and the Brazilian government declared three days of national mourning. An estimated three million people lined the streets to offer their salute. Many prominent motor racing figures attended Senna's state funeral, notably Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Emerson Fittipaldi who were among the pallbearers. However, Senna's family did not allow FOM president Bernie Ecclestone to attend,[69] and FIA President Max Mosley instead attended the funeral of Ratzenberger which took place on May 7, 1994 in Salzburg, Austria.[70] Mosley said in a press conference ten years later, "I went to his funeral because everyone went to Senna's. I thought it was important that somebody went to his."[71]

A testament to the adulation he inspired among fans worldwide was the scene at the Tokyo headquarters of Honda where the McLaren cars were typically displayed after each race. Upon his death, so many floral tributes were received that it overwhelmed the large exhibit lobby.[72] This in spite the fact Senna no longer drove for McLaren and that McLaren, in the preceding seasons did not use Honda power. Senna had a special relationship with company founder Soichiro Honda[citation needed] and was beloved in Japan where he achieved a near mythic status. In his home country of Brazil, the main freeway from the international airport to São Paulo and a tunnel along route to the heart of the city is named in his honour. Also, one of the most important freeways of Rio de Janeiro is named after Senna ("Avenida Ayrton Senna"). Senna is buried at the Morumbi Cemetery in his hometown of São Paulo. His grave bears the epitaph "Nada pode me separar do amor de Deus" which means "Nothing can separate me from the love of God".

For the next race at Monaco, the FIA decided to leave the first two grid positions empty and painted them with the colors of the Brazilian and the Austrian flag, to honour Senna and Ratzenberger.

Personal life

Senna was born in Santana, a bairro of São Paulo city.[73][74] At school he excelled in gymnastics, art and chemistry but found mathematics, physics and English difficult.[citation needed] The son of a wealthy Brazilian landowner, he developed an interest in motor racing at an early age.

Senna was Catholic. A very religious man, he openly conflated his beliefs with his racing, something for which he was criticized as dangerous by Alain Prost, among others. He often read the Bible on long flights from São Paulo to Europe.[75]

Senna expressed concern over the widespread poverty in Brazil, and privately spent millions of his personal fortune on underprivileged children.[76] Shortly before his death he created the framework for an organisation dedicated to Brazilian children, which later became Instituto Ayrton Senna.[77]

Senna was often quoted using driving as a means for self-discovery, and racing as a metaphor for life: “The harder I push, the more I find within myself. I am always looking for the next step, a different world to go into, areas where I have not been before. It’s lonely driving a Grand Prix car, but very absorbing. I have experienced new sensations and I want more. That is my excitement, my motivation.”[78]

Towards the end of his career Senna became increasingly preoccupied with the dangers of his profession. On the morning of his death he initiated the re-formation of the GPDA safety organisation, with which he would work to improve the safety of his sport. Shortly before his death, Senna spoke of Formula 1 saying "you are always exposed to danger, danger of getting hurt, danger of dying. This is your life, and you either approach it in a, in a professional, in a cool manner or you just drop it, leave it alone and don't do it anymore. And I happen to like too much what I do to just drop it, I can't drop it".[citation needed]

He was renowned for his close relationship with Gerhard Berger, and the two were always playing practical jokes on each other.[79] Berger is quoted as saying "He taught me a lot about our sport, I taught him to laugh". In the documentary film The Right to Win made in 2004 as a tribute to Senna, Frank Williams notably recalls that as good a driver as Senna was, ultimately "he was an even greater man outside of the car than he was in it."

Senna was married once, for a short period of time and before his breakthrough in Formula One, to Lilian de Vasconcelos.

By the time of his death, Senna was dating Brazilian model Adriane Galisteu, with whom the Senna family never had a friendly relationship, even to this date. That was shown in Senna's funeral, where Galisteu was openly cast aside. The "widow" status was given by the family and media to Brazilian icon Xuxa, who arrived at the funeral holding hands with Senna's sister, Viviane. After his death Galisteu wrote a book about her and Senna's relationship. Adriane became a celebrity upon Senna's death, many saying because of it, and has kept that status ever since, working as a TV show host.

He was the uncle of Formula One driver Bruno Senna, of whom he famously said in 1993: "If you think I'm fast, just wait until you see my nephew Bruno".[80]

Legacy

Memorial at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, where Senna was killed.

Many safety improvements were made in the sport following Senna and Ratzenberger's deaths. Improved crash barriers, redesigned tracks and tyre barriers, higher crash safety standards, and higher sills on the driver cockpit are changes due to Senna and Ratzenberger's deaths.

Soon after his death in 1994, the Brazilian football World Cup winning team dedicated their win to the great racer in order to recognise his contributions to Formula 1.

After Senna's death it was discovered that he had donated millions of dollars of his personal fortune (estimated at $400 million at the time of his death)[81] to children's charities, a fact that during his life he had kept secret. His foundation in Brazil, Instituto Ayrton Senna, has invested nearly US$80 million over the last twelve years in social programs and actions in partnership with schools, government, NGOs, and the private sector aimed at offering children and teenagers from low-income backgrounds the skills and opportunities they need to develop to their full potential as persons, citizens and future professionals.[82]

In 2004 (when, ten years after his death, the Brazilian media revisited the life of Senna), a book called "Ayrton: The Hero Revealed" (original title: "Ayrton: O Herói Revelado"[83]) was published in Brazil. Senna remains a national hero in Brazil and his grave attracts more visitors than the graves of John F Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley combined.[84]

In addition, to mark the 10th anniversary of Senna's passing, on April 21, 2004, over 10,000 people attended a charity match in a football stadium near Imola. The game was organized by several devoted Italian and Canadian fans of Senna, bringing the 1994 FIFA World Cup winning team of Brazil (who dedicated their 1994 FIFA World Cup win to Senna) to face the "Nazionale Piloti", an exhibition team comprised exclusively of top race car drivers. Senna had been a part of the latter in 1985. Michael Schumacher, Jarno Trulli, Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso and many others faced the likes of Dunga, Careca, Taffarel and many of the team that won the World Cup in the United States ten years earlier. The match finished 5-5 and the money was donated to Instituto Ayrton Senna. Viviane Senna, Senna's sister, president of the institute (and mother of future GP2 driver Bruno Senna), gave the initial kick. That same weekend, Bernie Ecclestone revealed that he still believed Senna was and remained the best F1 driver he had ever seen.[69]

In 2005, Italian singer Cesare Cremonini released a song entitled, "Marmellata #25", and in the chorus he has part of a line that reads in Italian "Ahh! Da quando Senna non corre più... non è più domenica!", which translates to: "Oh! Since Senna doesn't race anymore...it's not Sunday anymore!"

To take advantage of the close relationship Honda had with the Brazilian prodigy during his tenure as #1 driver for the McLaren/Honda F1 Team, Senna was called in to fine-tune the Honda NSX's suspension setting during its final development stages. The tests were conducted at Suzuka Circuit with chief NSX engineer Shigeru Uehara and his engineering team present to gather Senna's direct input. As a result of his suspension tuning, Senna subsequently found the prototype NSX initially lacked chassis stiffness to the level he was accustomed to, so the final production version was further reinforced to his satisfaction. Dubbed the 1992 NSX Type-R it is a limited version of the car, sold mainly within Japan.

In 2002, the MV Agusta F4 750 Senna motorbike was created by Claudio Castiglioni, president of MV Agusta, to pay tribute to Senna, who was a close friend of his. It was limited to 300 bikes, and all profits from sales went to the Ayrton Senna Foundation. The bike's chassis and engine are based on the F4 750 SPR, which is a highly-specified version of the F4.

Jazz pianist Kim Pensyl wrote two songs that he dedicated to Senna called "Senna Semba" (From Pensyl Sketches #3 .1990) and "Tribute to Ayrton" (From When you were mine.1994)

Japanese jazz-fusion guitarist and T-square bandleader Masahiro Andoh and his friend Yuhji Mikuriya wrote a song dedicated to Senna in their "anmi" project. This song is called "Play For You".

Chris Rea wrote a song called "Saudade" as a tribute to Senna.

In 2009, it was announced that Senna's nephew Bruno would be making his Formula One debut in 2010.[85]

Complete Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points[1]
1984 Toleman Group Motorsport Toleman TG183B Hart S4 (t/c) BRA
Ret
RSA
6
BEL
6
SMR
DNQ
9th 13
Toleman TG184 Hart S4 (t/c) FRA
Ret
MON
2
CAN
7
DET
Ret
DAL
Ret
GBR
3
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
EUR
Ret
POR
3
1985 John Player Special Team Lotus Lotus 97T Renault V6 (t/c) BRA
Ret
POR
1
SMR
7
MON
Ret
CAN
16
DET
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
10
GER
Ret
AUT
2
NED
3
ITA
3
BEL
1
EUR
2
RSA
Ret
AUS
Ret
4th 38
1986 John Player Special Team Lotus Lotus 98T Renault V6 (t/c) BRA
2
ESP
1
SMR
Ret
MON
3
BEL
2
CAN
5
DET
1
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
2
HUN
2
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
4
MEX
3
AUS
Ret
4th 55
1987 Camel Team Lotus Honda Lotus 99T Honda V6 (t/c) BRA
Ret
SMR
2
BEL
Ret
MON
1
DET
1
FRA
4
GBR
3
GER
3
HUN
2
AUT
5
ITA
2
POR
7
ESP
5
MEX
Ret
JPN
2
AUS
DSQ
3rd 57
1988 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/4 Honda V6 (t/c) BRA
DSQ
SMR
1
MON
Ret
MEX
2
CAN
1
DET
1
FRA
2
GBR
1
GER
1
HUN
1
BEL
1
ITA
10
POR
6
ESP
4
JPN
1
AUS
2
1st 90 (94)
1989 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/5 Honda V10 BRA
11
SMR
1
MON
1
MEX
1
USA
Ret
CAN
7
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
1
HUN
2
BEL
1
ITA
Ret
POR
Ret
ESP
1
JPN
DSQ
AUS
Ret
2nd 60
1990 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/5B Honda V10 USA
1
BRA
3
SMR
Ret
MON
1
CAN
1
MEX
20
FRA
3
GBR
3
GER
1
HUN
2
BEL
1
ITA
1
POR
2
ESP
Ret
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
1st 78
1991 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/6 Honda V12 USA
1
BRA
1
SMR
1
MON
1
CAN
Ret
MEX
3
FRA
3
GBR
4
GER
7
HUN
1
BEL
1
ITA
2
POR
2
ESP
5
JPN
2
AUS
1
1st 96
1992 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/6B Honda V12 RSA
3
MEX
Ret
4th 50
McLaren MP4/7A Honda V12 BRA
Ret
ESP
9
SMR
3
MON
1
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
2
HUN
1
BEL
5
ITA
1
POR
3
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
1993 Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/8 Ford V8 RSA
2
BRA
1
EUR
1
SMR
Ret
ESP
2
MON
1
CAN
18
FRA
4
GBR
5
GER
4
HUN
Ret
BEL
4
ITA
Ret
POR
Ret
JPN
1
AUS
1
2nd 73
1994 Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW16 Renault V10 BRA
Ret
PAC
Ret
SMR
Ret
MON
ESP
CAN
FRA
GBR
GER
HUN
BEL
ITA
POR
EUR
JPN
AUS
NC 0

References

  1. ^ a b Up until 1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of pointscoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
  2. ^ "Interview with Bernie Ecclestone.". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/motor-racing/senna-would-have-beaten-schumacher-in-equal-cars-560807.html. 
  3. ^ "Alan Henry's Top 100 F1 Drivers". The Telegraph online.. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/2293034/Formula-One-Top-100-drivers.html. 
  4. ^ "F1 Racing's Fastest F1 Drivers". F1 Racing from formula1sport.net. http://formula1sport.net/formula-1/senna-named-fastest-formula-one-driver-of-all-time/. 
  5. ^ Straw, Edd (2009-12-10). "Drivers vote Senna the greatest ever". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80517. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  6. ^ "Formula 1's Greatest Drivers: 1. AYRTON SENNA". autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. 2009-12-10. http://f1greatestdrivers.autosport.com/?driver=1. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  7. ^ Ayrton Senna: Racing in My Blood, Official Video Biography (Kultur Video, 1991).
  8. ^ "Ayrton Senna – Racing Career". MotorSports Etc. http://www.motorsportsetc.com/info/senna.htm. 
  9. ^ Hilton 1999 pp.38-40
  10. ^ Hilton (2005), pp.9, 33-43, 154.
  11. ^ Hilton, Christopher, Ayrton Senna - The Complete Story (2004) , p 99 - 116.
  12. ^ Hilton (2005), p. 43-47, 154.
  13. ^ Greg Girard, Ian Lambot, and Philip Newsome, Macau Grand Prix: The Road To Success (Watermark Surrey, 1998).
  14. ^ Hilton (2004), p 121-122
  15. ^ Drackett, Phil (1985). Brabham : Story of a racing team. Arthur Barker. ISBN 0 213 16915 0.  pp.134–135
  16. ^ Hilton (2004), p 138.
  17. ^ Mark Hughes and Simon Arron, The Complete Book of Formula One (Motorbooks International, 2003), p. 310.
  18. ^ Hamilton, Maurice (1984)) Autocourse 1984-85 p.141 Hazleton publishing ISBN 0-905138-32-5
  19. ^ Hilton (2004), p 149 - 152.
  20. ^ "FIA World Endurance Championship 1984". wsrp.ic.cz. http://wsrp.ic.cz/wsc1984.html#4. Retrieved January 14, 2007. 
  21. ^ "Senna - Porsche 956K - Nurburgring". The Nostalgia Forum at AtlasF1. http://forums.autosport.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=50415. Retrieved January 14, 2007. 
  22. ^ Hilton (2004), p 140.
  23. ^ Timothy Collings and Sarah Edworthy, The Formula One Years: A Season-by-Season Account of the World's Premier Motor Racing Championship from 1950 to the Present Day (Carlton Books, 2002), p. 208.
  24. ^ Hamilton, Maurice (ed.) (1985) Autocourse 1985 - 1986 Hazleton publishing pp.74 & 104 ISBN 0-905138-38-4
  25. ^ Hilton (2004), p 427
  26. ^ Hilton (2004), p 163
  27. ^ Hilton (2004), p 170
  28. ^ Hilton (2004), p 428
  29. ^ Hilton (2004), p 432
  30. ^ Hilton (2004), p 186
  31. ^ Hilton (2004), p 188
  32. ^ "Engines: Honda Motor Company," GP Encyclopedia, printed from www.grandprix.com on June 2, 2007.
  33. ^ a b prostfan.com - Ayrton Senna by Alain Prost
  34. ^ Hughes and Arron (2003), p. 340.
  35. ^ Bruce Jones, ed. 50 Years of the Formula One World Championship (Carlton, 1999). p. 221-222
  36. ^ Christopher Hilton, Ayrton Senna: The Whole Story (Haynes, 2004)
  37. ^ Jones, ed. (1999), pp. 227-228.
  38. ^ F1 - Grandprix.com > Features > News Feature > McLaren versus Jean-Marie Balestre
  39. ^ Menard and Vassal (2003), p. 106-107.
  40. ^ Menard and Vassal(2003), p. 107.
  41. ^ "Senna blows his top at Suzuka," printed from www.autosport.com on May 30, 2007
  42. ^ Menard and Vassal (2003), p. 129-130.
  43. ^ Menard and Vassal (2003), pp. 128-129.
  44. ^ Jones (1999), pp. 253, 257.
  45. ^ Collings and Edworthy (2002), pp. 244-247.
  46. ^ Menard and Vassal (2003), pp. 129-132.
  47. ^ Collings and Edworthy (2002), p. 239, 250.
  48. ^ Menard and Vassal (2003), p. 132.
  49. ^ Menard and Vassal (2003), p. 130.
  50. ^ “Constructors: McLaren International,” GP Encyclopedia, printed from www.grandprix.com on May 30, 2007.
  51. ^ a b "History of McLaren: Time Line – the 1990s." printed from www.mclaren.com on May 30, 2007.
  52. ^ Menard and Vassal (2003), p. 133.
  53. ^ Collings and Edworthy (2002), p. 250.
  54. ^ “Grand Prix Results: South African GP, 1993,” GP Encyclopedia, printed from www.grandprix.com on May 30, 2007.
  55. ^ “Grand Prix Results: Brazilian GP, 1993,” GP Encyclopedia, printed from www.grandprix.com on May 30, 2007.
  56. ^ Collings and Edworthy (2002), p. 250
  57. ^ “Grand Prix Results: European GP, 1993,” GP Encyclopedia, printed from www.grandprix.com on May 30, 2007.
  58. ^ Menard and Vassal (2003), p. 134.
  59. ^ Ian Thomsen, “Senna, Hill and Monaco: Roaring Through the Ghost of a Winner Past,” International Herald Tribune, Monday, May 24, 1993; printed from http://www.iht.com on May 28, 2007.
  60. ^ Menard and Vassal (2003), pp. 134-135.
  61. ^ Collings and Edworthy (2002), pp. 251-253.
  62. ^ Showdown at Suzuka www.themagicofsenna.com Retrieved 2 March 2008
  63. ^ Menard and Vassal (2003), p. 138.
  64. ^ BBC SPORT | Motorsport | Photo Galleries | Senna retrospective
  65. ^ "Who's Who: Ayrton Senna". F1Fanatic.co.uk. 2007. http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/f1-information/whos-who/whos-who-s/ayrton-senna/. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  66. ^ "Interview with Ayrton Senna, 28 May 1994". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iErwQ9Y0q-Y. 
  67. ^ SportsPro: Sport's money magazine
  68. ^ Longmore, Andrew (1994-10-31). "Ayrton Senna: The Last Hours". The Times. p. 30. http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:UKNB:LTIB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=0F9242ED73BC537B&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated4&req_dat=63FF7C9CECF24CA8828B27BFD2B2546B. "Back at the track, in the shattered remains of Senna's car, they discovered a furled Austrian flag Senna had intended to dedicate his 42nd grand prix victory to Ratzenberger's memory." 
  69. ^ a b "'Senna would have beaten Schumacher in equal cars' - Motor Racing, Sport". The Independent. 2004-04-22. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/motor-racing/senna-would-have-beaten-schumacher-in-equal-cars-560807.html. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  70. ^ David Tremayne, Mark Skewis, Stuart Williams, Paul Fearnley (1994-04-05). "Track Topics". Motoring News (News Publications Ltd.). 
  71. ^ "Max went to Roland's funeral". www.f1racing.net. 2004-04-23. http://www.f1racing.net/en/news.php?newsID=48657. Retrieved 2006-10-28. 
  72. ^ "アイルトン・セナの去った夜" (in Japanese). http://www.honda.co.jp/collection-hall/episodes_old/motor/mp44/index.html. 
  73. ^ Ayrton Senna
  74. ^ Gafisa presta homenagem a Ayrton Senna: "morador ilustre a gente não esquece"
  75. ^ [1]
  76. ^ "The Official Formula 1 Website". Formula1.com. http://www.formula1.com/teams_and_drivers/hall_of_fame/45/. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  77. ^ Widdows, Rob (2008-02-02). "Instituto Ayrton Senna: Gone but not forgotten". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/motorsport/2750524/Instituto-Ayrton-Senna-Gone-but-not-forgotten.html. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  78. ^ Collings and Edworthy (2002), p. 238.
  79. ^ Menard and Vassal (2003), p. 70.
  80. ^ http://www.formula1.com/news/features/2009/11/10214.html
  81. ^ The Official Formula 1 Website
  82. ^ Instituto Ayrton Senna
  83. ^ written by Ernesto Rodrigues, Editora Objetiva, ISBN 85-7302-602-2 [2]
  84. ^ Philip, Robert (2007-10-17). "Spirit of Ayrton Senna is Lewis Hamilton's spur". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/2323502/Spirit-of-Ayrton-Senna-is-Lewis-Hamilton%27s-spur.html. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  85. ^ Noble, Jonathan (2009-10-31). "Campos honoured to give Senna F1 slot". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/79887. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Roberto Moreno
British Formula Ford Champion
1981
Succeeded by
Julian Bailey
Preceded by
Tommy Byrne
British Formula Three Champion
1983
Succeeded by
Johnny Dumfries
Preceded by
Roberto Moreno
Macau Grand Prix Winner
1983
Succeeded by
John Nielsen
Preceded by
Nelson Piquet
Formula One World Champion
1988
Succeeded by
Alain Prost
Preceded by
Alain Prost
Formula One World Champion
1990-1991
Succeeded by
Nigel Mansell
Preceded by
Roland Ratzenberger
Formula One fatal accidents
May 1, 1994
Succeeded by
Last F1 fatality to date
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Nigel Mansell
Autosport
International Racing Driver Award

1988
Succeeded by
Jean Alesi
Preceded by
Jean Alesi
Autosport
International Racing Driver Award

1990-1991
Succeeded by
Nigel Mansell


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Racing, competing, is in my blood. It's part of me, it's part of my life. I've been doing it all my life. And it stands up before anything else.

Ayrton Senna da Silva (March 21, 1960May 1, 1994) was a Brazilian racing driver and three-time Formula One world champion. He remains the last Grand Prix driver killed while driving a Formula One car.

Contents

Sourced

  • I started racing go-karts. And I love karts. It's the most breath taking sport in the world. More than F1, indeed, I used to like it most.[1]
  • It's important that the drivers stay together, because in difficult moments we have each other. If we are not together the financial and political interests of the organisers and constructors come to the fore.[2]
  • Racing, competing, is in my blood. It's part of me, it's part of my life; I've been doing it all my life. And it stands up before anything else.[3]
  • By being a racing driver you are under risk all the time. By being a racing driver means you are racing with other people. And if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver because we are competing, competing to win. And the main motivation is to compete for victory, it's not to come 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th. I race to win as long as I feel it's possible. Sometimes you get it wrong? Sure, it's impossible to get it right all the time. But I race designed to win, as long as I feel I'm doing it right.[4]
  • I believe in the ability of focusing strongly in something, then you are able to extract even more out of it. It's been like this all my life, and it's been only a question of improving it, and learning more and more and there is almost no end. As you go through you just keep finding more and more. It's very interesting, it's fascinating.[5]
  • On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, 'Okay, this is the limit.' As soon as you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.[6]
  • We are made of emotions. We are all looking for emotions, basically. It's only a question of finding the way to experience them.[7]
  • If I ever happen to have an accident that eventually costs me my life, I hope it is in one go. I would not like to be in a wheelchair. I would not like to be in a hospital suffering from whatever injury it was. If I’m going to live, I want to live fully, very intensely, because I am an intense person. It would ruin my life if I had to live partially.[8]
  • Basically our championship starts here. Fourteen races, not sixteen. It's not a comfortable position to be in, but that's the reality. The team is conscious about the challenge we have to make to recover the ground over Benetton.[9]

Unsourced

  • Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.
  • Accidents are unsuspected and hated, but they are part of life. When you are fitted in a racing car and you race to win, second or third place is not enough. You must take the compromise to win, or else nothing. That means: you race or you do not.
    • August, 1991
  • Drivers exist in a world where decisions made in fractions of seconds could mean the difference between life and death; you do not allow yourself to be held ransom by emotions, especially fear.
  • Emotion, pleasure and challenge.
    • 1991, when asked about what he felt at 300 km/h
  • Fear is exciting for me.
  • Fear is part of people's life. Some of them don't know how to face it, others — where I include myself — learn coexisting with it or face it, not as a negative thing, but like a autoprotection sensation.
  • I don't know driving in another way which isn't risky. Each one has to improve himself. Each driver has its limit. My limit is a little bit further than others.
    • January, 1989
  • I don't see myself as Brazilian's main star. I don't think I'm so important so as to be the reason for a whole night party.
    • October, 1991, as he achieved his third world crown.
  • I have no idols. I admire work, dedication and competence.
  • If you have God on your side, everything becomes clear.
    • Interview in 1992
  • If you think I am good wait until my nephew arrives.
    • 1993 - Bruno Senna had clearly shown his talent to Ayrton in Karting.
  • In Brazil we have had Emerson (Fittipaldi), (José) Carlos Pace, and now it's me. After me there will be another one. This is unrefusable.
    • July, 1989
  • It is important, when your techical equipment is not the best, to believe there will always be a better race; that is a part of my motivation.
    • Febuary, 1994
  • It's going to be a season with lots of accidents, and I'll risk saying that we'll be lucky if something really serious doesn't happen.
    • 1994 Preseason
  • Money is a strange business. People who haven't got it aim it strongly. People who have are full of troubles.
    • July, 1991
  • My biggest error? Something that is to happen yet.
    • September, 1990
  • The danger sensation is exciting. The challenge is to find new dangers.
    • 1989
  • The day it arrives, it will arrive. It could be today or 50 years later. The only sure thing is that it will arrive.
    • Talking abouth death
  • The really important thing, whatever your doing- whether its karting, formula 1, whatever, even playing cards is to be the world champion because that means you are the best in the world. Even in karting it is a great, great achievement.
    • to Mike Wilson in 1989
  • These things bring you to reality as to how fragile you are; at the same moment you are doing something that nobody else is able to do. The same moment that you are seen as the best, the fastest and somebody that cannot be touched, you are enormously fragile. Because in a split second, it's gone. These two extremes are feelings that you don't get every day. These are all things which contribute to -how can I say?- knowing yourself deeper and deeper. These are the things that keep me going.
  • Wealthy men can't live in an island that is encircled by poverty. We all breathe the same air. We must give a chance to everyone, at least a basic chance.
    • Interview in 1993
  • Winning is the most important. Everything is consequence of that.
  • You will never know the feeling of a driver when winning a race. The helmet hides feelings that cannot be understood.
    • November 1988

About Ayrton Senna

Unsourced

The life of Ayrton Senna was an example in dedication and the love of the sports few athletes have had at international level. The world has lost the greatest athlete in the history of motor racing ~ Emerson Fittipaldi
  • He was the best driver who ever lived.
    • Niki Lauda
  • Ayrton Senna was an extraordinary racing driver. His skills, craft, subtlety and courage were of such magnitude that he dwarfed his generation of drivers.
    • Ron Dennis
  • Ayrton was the best friend I ever had in F1, closer to me than anybody else in the business. During my three years driving with him at McLaren, I came to realize that he was the best, one level higher than the rest of us.
    • Gerhard Berger
  • As I already said on TV, I want to dedicate this success to Ayrton. This is the place, I believe, where my life changed. After everything I have been through, from the problems on the car to the problems with myself, I think that Imola this year has seen another changing point...
    • Rubens Barrichello in post-race press conference at Imola GP 1999. He finished 3rd.
  • Ayrton has a small problem. He thinks he can't kill himself because he believes in God and I think that is very dangerous for the other drivers.
    • Alain Prost, 1989
  • Ayrton set standards the rest of us can only dream about. His death doesn't seem real. He was invincible and was going to keep on winning.
    • Derek Warwick
  • His loss is impossible to quantify. Everyone who has ever met him, in whatever capacity, feels they have lost something very special.
    • Frank Williams
  • It's a real waste. He still had a lot of racing and wins left in him. He was a good person. I can tell you that firsthand. Last year (1993), when I had my problems, he was one of the main people there supporting me. He was probably the greatest driver of all time. This was not a driver error. There was no weakness in his driving.
    • Michael Andretti
  • I always had a good relationship with him in our brief encounters. Senna was very good to us. He was very supportive of Michael. In fact, his was one of the first congratulatory messages Michael got after winning in Australia. I don't know what else to say. It comes as a tremendous shock to all of us. It's a devastating loss.
    • Mario Andretti
  • The life of Ayrton Senna was an example in dedication and the love of the sports few athletes have had at international level. The world has lost the greatest athlete in the history of motor racing and I have lost a great friend. Grand Prix racing will never be the same without Ayrton.
    • Emerson Fittipaldi
  • I was proud to compete against him. Professionally, he was the only driver I respected. In Senna's honour, I will never sit in a Formula One car again.
    • Alain Prost
  • When I first came round in the medical center after my accident, the first face I saw was Ayrton's, with tears in his eyes. I had never seen that with Ayrton before. I just had the impression that he felt as if my accident was like one of his own. He helped me a lot with my career and I can't find the words to describe his loss.
    • Rubens Barrichello

References

  1. TV Interview Roda Viva, TV Cultura 1986
  2. Interview with TV3 Catalunya, 1987 [1]
  3. Interview at 1989 Australian Grand Prix, November 1989 [2]
  4. Interview by Jackie Stewart, 1990, when answering to a comment from Jackie that he have had far more contact with other drivers than other great racing drivers [3]
  5. Interview for Racing is in My Blood, 1991 [4]
  6. Interview for Racing is in My Blood, 1991 [5]
  7. Interview for Racing is in My Blood, 1991 [6]
  8. Interview, January 1994 [7]
  9. Interview by Murray Walker, April 28, 1994 [8]

External links

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Etymology

After the racing driver.

Noun

Singular
Ayrton Senna

Plural

Ayrton Senna

  1. (Cockney rhyming slang) tenner (ten pound note)
    • 2002, Manfred Görlach, Still more Englishes
      Youngsters now talk of borrowing an Ayrton Senna (tenner), of feeling Calvin Klein (fine) or being Terry Waite (late).

Simple English

Ayrton Senna
File:Ayrton Senna Imola 1989
Nationality Brazilian
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 1984 - 1994
Teams Toleman Hart, Lotus, McLaren Honda, Williams
Races 162
Championships 3 (1988, 1990, 1991)
Wins 41
Podiums 80
Pole positions 65
Fastest laps 19
First race 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix
First win 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix
Last win 1993 Australian Grand Prix
Last race 1994 San Marino Grand Prix

Ayrton Senna da Silva (March 21, 1960May 1, 1994), better known as Ayrton Senna, was a Brazilian Formula 1 driver who won the championship three times, in 1988, 1990 and in 1991. He died in an accident that took place on the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, better known as Imola, in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. He's considered to be the most skilled driver in the history of motor racing.

Contents

Life before Formula 1 Racing

Senna was born in São Paulo, a city in Brazil. When he was four years old, he first got into a kart. When he was 13, he entered a karting competition for the first time. A fun fact is that he started his first kart race on pole position. The start places were written on pieces of paper and put in a driver's helmet, and he drew number one. Because he was a lot lighter than the other racers, he was much faster than all of them. He won the South American Kart Championships in 1977 and was runner-up in the World Championship, but he never won it.

In 1981 he raced in the British Formula Ford 1600 championship, and won it as well. He also changed his name to Senna, since da Silva is used a lot in Brazil.

In 1982 Senna won two European championships; the European and the British Formula Ford 2000. After testing with Williams, McLaren, Brabham and Toleman, he got a place within the Toleman team for the 1984 Formula One season.

Into Formula One

The Toleman team was a small team compared to teams like Williams, McLaren and Brabham. Even though, the team built a car good enough to let Senna impress with his talents. Ayrton Senna scored his first championship point on April 7, 1984 at the South African Grand Prix. Three races later, Senna impressed at the Monaco Grand Prix, where it was raining. Senna started on the 13th position, but right after the race started, he soon was gaining position after position on the track that is known for its small roads. On the 19th lap, he took second place from Niki Lauda and was making up a lot of time to the race leader, Alain Prost. It started to rain harder and the race was stopped on the 31st lap. Even though almost everyone agrees Senna should have won the race, Senna had a result to be proud of. In the rest of the season he would finish third place in two races, the Britisch and the Portuguese Grand Prix. He finished his first year in Formula One racing on a shared 9th position and 13 points, sharing his 9th position with Nigel Mansell.

Senna did not just race in Formula One that year. He also co-drove a Porsche 956 with Henri Pescarolo and Stefan Johansson in the 1000km Nürburgring race. He also raced in a race to celebrate the opening of the new Nürburgring. He won this race.

Ayrton's Years With Lotus

The following year, Ayrton Senna joined the Lotus team, and many thought he would be able to meet his potential. The other driver for Lotus was Elio De Angelis. Ayrton scored his first of 65 pole positions in his career during the Brazilian Grand Prix, but was not able to win the race. He retired with an electrical problem after 48 laps. He did not had to wait a long time for his first ever victory in Formula 1, however, because he won the next race, the Portuguese Grand Prix starting off from pole position. He showed his true talent driving in such bad weather which even later champion Alain Prost could not race in (he spun into a wall). The rest of the season was not too good for Senna though. He scored a lot of points but often retired because of mechanical problems. He won the Belgian Grand Prix in another wet race and finished 4th at the end of the season, scoring 38 points total. He also took two first places, two second places, two third places and seven pole positions.

His second season with Lotus, in 1986, was better than his first. The Lotus Car was a lot more reliable. He finished second in the Brazilian Grand Prix, with only Nelson Piquet being faster than Ayrton. He even took the lead in the World Championship standings during the Spanish Grand Prix after managing to keep Nigel Mansell away from stealing the victory. The gap between both drivers was only 14 thousand of a second. He did not have a lot of time to enjoy his lead, however, because his Lotus did not have the reliability Ayrton needed to chase after the title.

Complete Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points[1]
1984 Toleman Group Motorsport Toleman TG183B Hart 1.5 L S4 T BRA
Ret
RSA
6
BEL
6
SMR
DNQ
9th 13
Toleman TG184 FRA
Ret
MON
2
CAN
7
DET
Ret
DAL
Ret
GBR
3
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
EUR
Ret
POR
3
1985 John Player Special Team Lotus Lotus 97T Renault EF15 1.5 L V6 T BRA
Ret
POR
1
SMR
7
MON
Ret
CAN
16
DET
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
10
GER
Ret
AUT
2
NED
3
ITA
3
BEL
1
EUR
2
RSA
Ret
AUS
Ret
4th 38
1986 John Player Special Team Lotus Lotus 98T Renault EF15 1.5 L V6 T BRA
2
ESP
1
SMR
Ret
MON
3
BEL
2
CAN
5
DET
1
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
2
HUN
2
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
4
MEX
3
AUS
Ret
4th 55
1987 Camel Team Lotus Honda Lotus 99T Honda EF15B 1.5 L V6 T BRA
Ret
SMR
2
BEL
Ret
MON
1
DET
1
FRA
4
GBR
3
GER
3
HUN
2
AUT
5
ITA
2
POR
7
ESP
5
MEX
Ret
JPN
2
AUS
DSQ
3rd 57
1988 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/4 Honda RA168E 1.5 L V6 T BRA
DSQ
SMR
1
MON
Ret
MEX
2
CAN
1
DET
1
FRA
2
GBR
1
GER
1
HUN
1
BEL
1
ITA
10
POR
6
ESP
4
JPN
1
AUS
2
1st 90 (94)
1989 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/5 Honda RA109E 3.5 L V10 BRA
11
SMR
1
MON
1
MEX
1
USA
Ret
CAN
7
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
1
HUN
2
BEL
1
ITA
Ret
POR
Ret
ESP
1
JPN
DSQ
AUS
Ret
2nd 60
1990 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/5B Honda RA100E 3.5 L V10 USA
1
BRA
3
SMR
Ret
MON
1
CAN
1
MEX
20
FRA
3
GBR
3
GER
1
HUN
2
BEL
1
ITA
1
POR
2
ESP
Ret
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
1st 78
1991 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/6 Honda RA121E 3.5 L V12 USA
1
BRA
1
SMR
1
MON
1
CAN
Ret
MEX
3
FRA
3
GBR
4
GER
7
HUN
1
BEL
1
ITA
2
POR
2
ESP
5
JPN
2
AUS
1
1st 96
1992 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/6B Honda RA122E 3.5 L V12 RSA
3
MEX
Ret
4th 50
McLaren MP4/7A BRA
Ret
ESP
9
SMR
3
MON
1
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
2
HUN
1
BEL
5
ITA
1
POR
3
JPN
Ret
AUS
Ret
1993 Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/8 Ford HBE7 3.5 L V8 RSA
2
BRA
1
EUR
1
SMR
Ret
ESP
2
MON
1
CAN
18
FRA
4
GBR
5
GER
4
HUN
Ret
BEL
4
ITA
Ret
POR
Ret
JPN
1
AUS
1
2nd 73
1994 Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW16 Renault RS6 3.5 L V10 BRA
Ret
PAC
Ret
SMR
Ret
MON
ESP
CAN
FRA
GBR
GER
HUN
BEL
ITA
POR
EUR
JPN
AUS
NC 0

References

  1. Up until 1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see point scoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.


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