This season will mark the 20th anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s death, which occurred on May 1st, 1994 during the San Marino Grand Prix at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy.
Throughout the year Auto123.com will publish a series of exclusive features on the amazing life and accomplishments of the legendary F1 driver from Brazil.
I personally met Senna for the first time in June 1984, a few days before the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. I already knew him quite well after closely following his racing career right from his international karting days as a factory driver for DAP.
An avid motor sport enthusiast since 1978, I was a student in Physical Education at McGill University. In 1984, I had just finished writing a complete physical and psychological training program for race car drivers. Along with two professors, Drs. Jacques Dallaire and Dan Marisi, I decided to invite some Formula 1 drivers to help them with their preparation.
Ayrton Senna was one of the first to show up. We evaluated his physical condition and psychological profile inside the lab at Currie Gymnasium, located on Des Pins Avenue in Montreal.
Canadian Grand Prix Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacques Bouchard, made arrangements for us to have a Holter (a portable device for continuously monitoring heart rate) which Senna agreed to wear during the race.
Later, Senna paid us a number of visits at the lab, and we remained in close contact up until his last stop at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in 1993 — his last year racing for McLaren.
For 2014, 20 years after Senna’s tragic accident, we will publish various articles based on one-on-one interviews with high-profile individuals who personally knew and/or worked with him during his career.
We’ll also post rarely seen photos and recommend a few books on Senna that you should definitely check out if you want to learn more about this iconic driver with exceptional skills and mesmerizing appeal.
Come back regularly to Auto123.com Racing to read all our features remembering Ayrton Senna, 20 years after his death.
By René Fagnan