And here’s a happy holiday scene from Portugal, where I enjoyed a dinner in 1985 with Ayrton Senna and his friends.

That’s Ayrton on the right, of course, in the mauve sweater (next to his girl-friend, Adriane Yamin);  Ayrton’s manager, Armando Botelho, sits two places to Ayrton’s right, and Ayrton’s close-friend and fellow driver, Maurico Gugelmin, sits opposite.  I’m on the left near the back.

Ayrton worked tirelessly throughout his racing life to try to help Maurico and almost landed him a seat at Lotus and Williams;  as it turned out, Maurcio raced for March for four seasons, finishing third in the 1989 Brazilian GP, and therefore working with Adrian Newey at this important pre-Williams phase of Adrian’s career.  After a season with Jordan in 1992, Maurico then switched to ChampCar in the USA, enjoying a successful few years mainly with PacWest Racing.

When this picture was taken, Mauricio had just finished a brilliant F3 season with West Surrey Engineering (for whom Ayrton also drove in British F3).  Maurico won the 1985 British F3 Championship and the Macau Grand Prix. We all met beforehand at Ayrton’s nearby villa.  There was nothing ostentatious about Ayrton:  his home was neat and tidy but did not say “racing driver” as the abodes and accruements of many of today’s stars obviously say “I, me, mine”.  For Ayrton, big was not necessarily better.