May 1st 1994 will be remembered for many as the date when one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time died during the San Marino Grand Prix held at Imola. That driver was Ayrton Senna and today is 25 years since this event which shook the racing world.
Prior to this, April 30th, the F1 community was deeply shocked by the death of the Austrian Formula One racer Roland Ratzenberger. He died in a crash during qualifying and the Senna family always makes sure that his name is remembered in the same breath as the icon himself when reflecting on the darkness which fell over the sport 25 years ago at Imola.
As traumatic as a time that this was, the ramifications for the sport were huge and the safety which had been advocated by Sir Jackie Stewart became even more at the forefront of the racing world.
Social media, Twitter in particular, is the modern way that so many people evoke their thoughts and feelings and it is no different today when remembering the event 25 years on, the sentiments were:
@ayrtonsenna We all have memories of the best driver of all times because of his victories on track or his example of determination. We invite all fans to participate of the honour #MeuAyrton, which will celebrate Brazilian hero. Share the honour in social media with the hashtag #MeuAyrton
@McLarenF1 Courageous, iconic, inimitable. What three words would you use to describe Senna?
@F1 Racer. Hero. Legend. Twenty-five years on, we remember Ayrton Senna, an icon of our sport.
@CroftyF1 25 years ago, a weekend that will never be forgotten. Two drivers we will always remember.
@JeanTodt 25 years ago in Imola, we lost a fabulous driver and a generous man. We miss you, Ayrton Senna
@LaureusSport ‘’He had the traits that are seen in many of the great leaders – which is a relentless focus on perfection and improvement.’’ Icon. Hero. Legend.
@Rgrosjean Motorsports lost a legend 25 years ago.
@Bsenna 25 years went by flying! Thank you for leaving so many amazing memories, lessons and still being very much alive in our hearts! #SennaDay #SennaSempre #simplythebest
If I was to choose three words to describe Ayrton Senna they would be:
Racer. Irreplaceable. Philanthropic.
So many people know of Ayrton Senna’s on track success the main highlights being his three Driver’s Championships and that race in Monaco. However, what goes under the radar when recalling a man who had a net worth of 200 million dollars, is the huge work he did for his country of Brazil – hence my choice of word ‘philanthropic’
Philanthropy means the love of humanity and the The Instituto Ayrton Senna continues the work of the much missed icon to this day. The institute is a Brazilian non-governmental organization, intended to help create opportunities for human development to young Brazilians in cooperation with businesses, governments, municipalities, schools, universities and NGOs.
Ayrton Senna was a man who had a huge impact on motorsport – not just Formula One. The sport became safer as direct response to the deaths of Ratzenberger and Senna which made the tragedy of Jules Bianchi passing away in 2015 from injuries suffered many months previously at Suzuka all the more shocking.
25 years have indeed flown by as Ayrton’s nephew Bruno Senna said but what can be certain is that even when another 25 years have come to pass, the names of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger will continue to be on the lips of many a person and not just racing fans.
So, what three words would you use to describe Ayrton Senna?