To many of you Ayrton Senna is among the greatest drivers in Formula 1 or perhaps THE greatest driver himself that the sport has ever known. Senna has been an icon for several generations due to his will to win and his determination for 10 points and a title.
Ayrton is the inspiration for many drivers on the grid and reflects on their helmet (the bright yellow helmet). The man a relatively short career in formula 1 but he excelled in his passion. Ayrton had the talent to overperform his car and put some blasting pole position laps. Through out his career the main highlight was the battle on and off track with Alain Prost (who will be featured on F1 icons later this year).
Born in 1960 in São Paulo to a financially better off parents, Ayrton Senna da Silva was synonymous to motorsport since his very young days. His father Milton built him a go-kart with 3 Bhp with which he used to practice while going around. Senna later would become a karting championship in South America before leaving for England. He left the hot tropical weather of Brazil for a cold England but Ayton stuck to his gun and climbed the ladder of motorsport. In 1983 he tested for Williams, McLaren and Brabham and Toleman with which he signed for 1984.
I could write 7 paragraphs about Ayrton Senna which might be boring for you to read but the fact is Ayrton Senna is well known and has been the centre of attention for many documentaries and books. Instead of writing his biography, I believe the attention should be given on why he was special to so many people and so many generations. Senna was perhaps the driver with the strongest gifted talent by that I mean his race craft and the ability of out performing the car. From winning the 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix in 6th gear to leading the World Championship in 1993 against Alain Prost and his Williams Renault, Ayrton had the balls and talent to put a mighty performance when hopes were low.
Without any doubt his best season where his true potential and ability came in front was 1993. His last year with McLaren proved to be the strongest one, it should be however agreed that he did not win any world title but he still managed to extract all the potential of a car with a brilliant aero package and an underpowered Ford Customer engine (prior to the British Grand Prix of 1993). I should clarify that Ayrton was not a saint. He vetoed Derek Warwick to join the Lotus team in 1986, famously pushed Prost against the wall at Imola in 1989, blocked Mansell several times throughout the years. It should not be ignored that Senna and his will to win also ended races prematurely but to that he responded to every critics that was thrown at him. He was also the man who banzai the authorities and their politics (1989, 1990) which sometimes were unprofessional and biased. And this is why so many people like it. He was like a mixture of talent, passion, determination but also some cruelty and humanity added to it. Banco Nacional was also a personal sponsor of Senna and till today many fans at the annual Brazilian Grand Prix can be seen wearing the Blue cap.
Senna outside the race track was a much calmer person that many would have thought. His life was shared between Brazil and Monaco. Through out his career and after winning his first World Championship Ayrton started to live a much normal life, he experienced love and he passed more time with his family and nephews. He also successfully re-invented himself in the late 1980?s with business and commercial ventures. He famously tuned the Honda NSX which was a creation of Honda in 1989. Honda and Ayrton shared a close relationship which made him the performance icon for the Japanese company.
In 1993 he was the inspiration for Senninha; a cartoon based on him and many elder fans will perhaps remember the 1992 “Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco Grand Prix” which was a game on the Sega video game network. He also helped Brazil as he donated millions of his wealth to the unfortunate. Posthumously the Instituto Ayrton Senna was created to help and empower the youngster in Brazil which is handled by Ayrton’s sister Vivianne.
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