It’s hard to believe that 26 years have passed since the tragedy that ended his life and career. Charismatic, outspoken, and a little bit insane, Senna drove with the belief that a higher power was on his side and had already codified himself into legend before he met his end while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
It all begins in São Paulo in Brazil where a legend of motor sport was born on March 21, 1960: Ayrton Senna Da Silva.
Despite the economic situation that affected the Brazilian population, he was raised in a more comfortable environment thanks to the work of his father, but despite the comforts in which he lived, he understood that there was something else in the world that counted more than wealth.
Nobody imagined that Beco, as the family always called him, would become three times Formula 1 world champion.
He started off in karting when he was 4 years old, racing on the go-kart that was given to him by his father Milton.
He soon found success in that category which took him to ever higher levels. In fact, he went to England, which is still the epicenter of motor sport for emerging drivers. Between 1981 and 1983 he collected one victory after another in Formula Ford and Formula 3, becoming F3 world champion.
He wasn’t even 24 when the most important Formula 1 teams began to take an interest in him and his driving style,but unfortunately they already had their own pair of drivers and the only option for Senna was Toleman, which wasn’t a high-level team but perfect for Senna's purposes at the time.
His car suddenly became fast and the only thing to focus on was the McLaren driven by Alain Prost, which was the car to beat that year. Indeed, the epic duels between the two, which wrote some of the most unforgettable chapters in Formula 1 history, are unforgettable.
He began to win in 1985 when moved to Lotus and where he found the Italian driver Elio De Angelis as his teammate. In 1989 he finally won his first title driving the McLaren MP4/4, alongside Alain Prost. After Prost came to Ferrari, Senna remained in McLaren taking another F1 world title in 1990 and at the end of 1991, he won the third and the final F1 world title.
And then, in 1994, came the move to Williams and together the accident after the restart of the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola in 1994.
During the 7th lap, Senna slammed sideways against the wall outside the “Tamburello” curve, due to the failure of the steering column, but initially the accident didn’t seem so serious. A metal tube, which was part of the front-right suspension, flew off and pierced Senna’s helmet visor, ending his life in a brutal way.
And so ended the last, tragic chapter of his life, written on a sad Sunday in May, which snatched from the world of sport a character of inimitable size.
«Racing, competing, it's in my blood. It's part of me, it's part of my life; I have been doing it all my life and it stands out above everything else.» (Ayrton Senna)
The great Ayrton Senna would have been 60 today 🇧🇷— Formula 1 (@F1) March 21, 2020
To his contemporaries he was a genius
To subsequent generations of drivers he is an inspiration
To his millions of fans he will always be an idol#SennaSempre #F1 pic.twitter.com/mNNQHZ09a3
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