Archive – Life and Death Of Ayrton Senna

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First published – 10 August 2013 

Ayrton Senna was a Formula One driver who raced from 1984 to his death in 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Some people argue that he is the greatest driver of all times. A deeply private man who gave away a lot to charity and a man whose death is still having an impact today.

Racing Prior

Senna came to Britain to start his professional career here in Britain 1981 to race in Formula Ford but at this point, his racing career could have ended in 1981 after pressure on his family business meaning he was forced to return home. However, a last minute a deal was done to save his racing career. He Join F3 team West Surry he was the top main until Martin Brundle closed the gap. Then a win at the Macau Grand Prix moved him into Formula One.

Formula One

Senna joined the Toleman team for 1984 to race in formula one. Senna’s soon realised that he had to up his game to become fitter both mentally and physically. Senna made a big impact on his first year in formula one. His first big notice came at Monaco Grand Prix from making it 13th to 2nd in very wet race. He was going 4 seconds faster than Niki Lauda and for the lead but he never got the lead after the race was stopped on lap 31. Senna had more success at British and Portuguese Grand Prix’s before joining Lotus for 1985. His first victory 1985 in came at the the second round in Portugal for Louts. He followed this up by two more podiums and a win in Spa. Senna remained with Louts for two more wins and 6 podiums before joining McLaren in 1988.

When he joined McLaren this was very good fight which would last until his death with French driver Alain Prost This lead to big drama on the track between the team-mates for the next five years. One of their best seasons was in 1988 when as the team they won 15 out of 16 races. By the last race, Senna had a 8 point lead over Prost. The tension between the two was very tense at 1989 San Marino Grand Prix where Prost claimed he broke an agreement between the two. He went on to win 7 more races but others he had problems at other races meaning the championship swung in Prost’s way.

In 1990 Senna to the championship for McLaren after Prost left the team for Ferrari.But, he was still fighting the Frenchman for the World Championship with 11 point gap by last two races.   One of the most dangerous moments in the season happened with Senna crashing Prost outwith the race only just underway.

In 1991 Senna became the youngest three time world champion and his last He took seven wins and he stayed there for another 21 years.

Death

Even before his death, the San Marino Grand prix was already had a dark cloud over it first the death in 15 years with Roland Ratzenberger and the serious crash of friend Rubens Barrichello. It was very shocking for not just Formula One and Brazil, but the whole world. Senna was deeply upset with what had already happened. A friend and Medical Chief Professor  Sid Watkins, who said that Senna was tearful, despite having only just met Ratzenberger the previous day. Professor Watkins suggested to Senna on that occasion to stop racing and go fishing (a hobby they both shared), to which Senna said he could not stop racing.

Senna’s last morning was spent re-forming the Grand Prix Drivers Association. Senna died on Lap 7 at Tamburello after crashing a turn 7. Watkins tried in vain to save his life but it was soon clear that he was dead.

Friend and Medical Chief Professor  Sid Watkins, who said that Senna was tearful, despite having only just met Ratzenberger the previous day. Professor Watkins suggested to Senna on that occasion to stop racing and go fishing (a hobby they both shared), to which Senna said he could not stop racing.

Senna’s last morning was spent re-forming the Grand Prix Drivers Association. Senna died on Lap 7 at Tamburello after crashing a turn 7. Watkins tried in vain to save his life but it was soon clear that he was dead.

Impact Today

Senna and Ratzenberger’s death made the way for safety to be improved. Before his death, Ayron and his Sister discussed setting up the  Instituto Ayrton Senna which is still working today to help children and teenagers from low-income backgrounds the skills and opportunities they need to develop their full potential as persons, citizens and future professionals. Damon Hill along with Michael Schumacher both dedicated their individual success to Senna with Hill’s victory in the Spanish Grand Prix and Schumacher’s world championship victory in the Australian Grand Prix.

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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