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Remembering Ayrton Senna: 23 Years On

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Paul Jeffrey, May 1, 2017.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    Aryton Senna .jpg
    May 1st marks the 23rd anniversary of the accident that claimed the life of Brazilian racing legend Ayrton Senna at Imola.


    RaceDepartment mark the anniversary of his death by looking back at the legend that was Ayrton Senna da Silva, Brazilian patriot and three time Formula One World Champion during his 10 years in the sport.

    Just to simply look at Senna's career statistics paint an incredible picture of a driver who many believe to have been the ultimate competitive sportsman during his Formula One career. Driving in an era where mechanical failures were par for the course during a racing season, and where the likelihood of receiving serious injuries from accidents on tracks now regarded far below the acceptable standard of todays track designs, Senna rose above an exceptionally talented field of drivers throughout his time in the sport and quickly became synonymous with the daredevil lifestyle of a racing driver the world over.

    However behind the uncompromising mask of a driver known to give his all whenever sat behind the wheel of a racing car sat a complicated and reserved individual, deeply spiritual and often displaying contradictory behaviours when competing wheel to wheel with his rivals at over 200 mph. Known to be an advocate of the wellbeing of his fellow man, Senna would often think nothing of pushing a rival dangerously close to a major accident in order to retain a competitive advantage, even going so far as to controversially collide with bitter rival and one time teammate Alain Prost at the championship deciding Japanese Grand Prix in 1990, securing a title for himself and his McLaren team against Frenchman Prost's Scudaria Ferrari car.

    Despite the controversy that often followed Senna and his actions out on circuit, the driver cultivated a cult like status in his Brazilian homeland, seen by the millions of Brazilians the world over as a champion of the people. Senna and later the posthumous activities of his Ayrton Senna Foundation charity have raised countless millions of dollars to support those less fortunate within his beloved home country.

    Following the fatal accident that claimed the life of Senna aged just 34 during the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1st 1994 Brazil went into a state of emotional meltdown, with the Brazilian government even going so far as to declare three days of national mourning, such was the reach of the driver within his homeland. The great champions funeral held in Sao Paulo was thought to have been attended by over 3 million people, including almost everyone who was anyone in the world of Grand Prix motorsport.

    Aryton Senna  funeral.jpg

    Perhaps of the greatest legacy left by Senna's time in Formula One comes the raft of improvements to driver safety introduced by the FIA following both Senna's accident and that of Austrian rookie Roland Ratzenberger on the Friday of the same event. Following such a high profile fatality aired live worldwide, the governing body of world motorsport sought to greatly improve safety within Formula One racing after admitting the sport had become complacent in recent seasons. With the introduction of high cockpit sides for the 1996 Grand Prix season having been directly attributed to saving serious injury or even fatal consequences since it's introduction, the legacy left by one single Brazilian sportsman following his dreams in a foreign country resonate through motor racing to this very day.



    Ayrton Senna da Silva was an incredible talent, a complicated man and a legend of a sport built on the back of legendary characters. Without doubt the mark made by Senna during his career in Formula One is unlikely to ever be repeated again. I for one am proud and honoured to have seen much of his career unfold on my TV screen live, and can clearly remember where I was, what I was wearing, what I was thinking and the tears I shed as Senna exited the Tamburello corner for the final time on Sunday 1st May 1994. A driver died that day at Imola, a legend lives on.

    Aryton Senna  2.jpg Aryton Senna  3.jpg

    Ayrton Senna Career Statistics:

    Races: 162
    Race Starts: 161
    Drivers' Titles: 3
    Wins: 41
    Poles: 65
    Podiums: 80
    Points: 614
    Fastest Laps: 19
    Laps: 8236

    Teams: Toleman, Lotus, McLaren, Williams


    For more Formula One news and discussions, head over to the RaceDepartment Formula One sub forum and get yourself involved in the action!

    Did you ever see Senna race in person or on TV? Do you regard Senna as one of the most complete racing drivers of all time? Let us know in the comments section below!
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  2. Andrew

    Andrew
    I'm not lazy, I'm just very relaxed. Staff Premium

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    A very good movie about this great racer:



    He still is and allways will be in our hearts .

    18156450_807824129374571_4341367971201149934_o.png
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  3. Benutzername

    Benutzername
    I breathe a lot. I guess i just really like air. Premium

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    If only[​IMG]
     
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  4. Allan Ramsbottom

    Allan Ramsbottom
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    A very sad day in Motorsport for sure...........But lets not also forget Roland Ratzenberger who lost his life the day before in qualifing..:cry::cry:
     
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  5. DucMan888

    DucMan888
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    Best cars, best tracks, best drivers. Best era. The beginning of the end of the greatest time in F1.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  6. Fabio Lima

    Fabio Lima

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    Unforgettable day
    Senna won the race only 3 gears and totally tired

     
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  7. shimon.ifraimov

    shimon.ifraimov

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    beautiful work of art, i want to buy it ! where did you find it?

    here is my drawing i did of senna a few years ago.
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. ronniej

    ronniej
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    Grew up watching him since Lotus with my dad, and was watching the race when he died. I initially thought he committed suicide...Heartbreaking still.

    That 1:40 onboard Monaco run was more exciting than the last 10 years of F1 combined imo.
     
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  9. Andy Jackson

    Andy Jackson
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    I remember exactly what I was doing on that day and at that time. We were having a family barbecue and the TV was pulled by the patio doors to watch the race. Suffice to say I did not eat what I had cooked. A sad day for me that was. He was my racing hero.
     
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  10. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
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    Awesome picture man! Great work!
     
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  11. Glaurung

    Glaurung
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    I too remember that moments like it was yesterday: the way the car went full speed straight against the barriers out of Tamburello, the first instants looking at his helmet after the crash, and the immediate awareness that somenthing terrible happened.
     
  12. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
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    Can't believe it's that long ago. I also remember watching the race and just being so totally in shock when the accident occurred. What made it worse of course was all the other horrible accidents that happened over the race weekend. Rubens, Roland, the start line accident that hurt some people in the crowd, the injury to the guy in the pits, it was a weekend that was truly difficult to witness and one of F1's darkest times for sure.

    One of F1's greatest drivers and one of it's best new stars were taken from us that weekend, but they will never be forgotten.
     
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  13. Tim Meuris

    Tim Meuris

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    I remember it was the first season my brothers and me started watching f1 with our father. At that moment I was 9,5 years old. I didn't fully realise how serious the crash was at the moment it happened until I looked at my dads face. I'll never forget that moment in my life.
     
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  14. ears

    ears

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    So long ago and still so sad.

    I was a student at the time, I remember it well.

    In my era, Senna was invincible, so dominant it was boring. So I was very flippant about his crash when it happened. Added spice to the championship, gave others a chance to build a big lead.

    It's a tribute to his talent, reputation and aura that I didn't even consider the fact that he could be hurt in any way. Even that weekend.

    How I'd love to have been right.
     
  15. Jens Christian Jensen

    Jens Christian Jensen
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    Champion número 1 :(:cry::(:cry::(:cry::(:cry:
     
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  16. Phoenix77

    Phoenix77
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    A very sad day for motorsport indeed... Looking back on it... With the earlier accidents and the (slow by todays standards) safety car coming out, making the tyres cool off too much... It was sadly a storm that just kept building and building.
    A very dark weekend :(
     
  17. DucMan888

    DucMan888
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    The memory of that day is clearer than I wish. I was staying at a friend's home as we were going to go on our Sunday morning motorcycle ride to the Highland House to hang out with fellow motorcyclist and for breakfast. I got up early as the race airs around 6:00 am local and watched it with the sound down not to wake the non-followers. Watching it felt a bit strange considering the tragedy the day before, but I did, and after the restart I watched in silence as his car careened off the track. I don't recall any news on Ayrton's condition, maybe I was avoiding the news, until that evening which confirmed what was all too evident hours earlier. A fellow F1 friend called me later and we shared stories and disbelieve of how cruel and unfair it seemed that the sport we loved could provide such pain and a sense of emptiness. I purchased the Senna movie and only watched it once I cannot bring myself to watch it again. I watch F1 today and often think of what could or rather should have been. RIP Ayrton and Roland, and to all that have been taken to provide us the most excitement of all sport.
     
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  18. razick

    razick

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    3 gears? At the end he only had the 6th gear! You can see on the onboard camera that he doesn't take his hands off the wheel. That is another proof that he's the best of all time.
     
  19. Mark Aalberts

    Mark Aalberts

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    I Always watched the races together with my mom, this was pretty much the day she stopped watching F1 races and the first time I saw her in tears about a sporting event. I was probably still to young to fully comprehend what just had happened. I only remember that it was a nice Sunny day and the picture of Senna veering off the track had always been fresh on my mind even after many years of not seeing the footage back it is something you will never forget.

    Johan Cruijf had a nice quote when he was fighting his cancer, he said somewhere along that in some sort of sense he was probably immortal. He was fully aware of what sort of impact he has had for the sport he loved so much. The same counts for Senna but in a more cruel sense of way that this event led to a safer F1. Back in those years there where a lot of discussions going about safety in F1. Not just in 94 but also in the years before that the drivers where complaining and being concerned about it because F1 had seen some nasty crashes back than. Nothing was done about it and it took until that fatal weekend to realize that something had to change.
     
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  20. Paul Garrett

    Paul Garrett
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    Very nice remembrance, Paul. Well done.

    I saw Senna race in Detroit in 1984, little did I know what he would become at the time.

    I couldn't believe when he died a decade later - it did not seem possible and still doesn't in some ways. That whole weekend at Imola was a tragedy, but the sport as a whole is much safer as a result. What a cost to pay, though.