Ayrton Senna da Silva (March 21, 1960 – May 1,1994) was a Brazilian racing driver and a three time winner of the Formula One world champion. But that’s not why we know him. It was not just because of his great talent as a driver, rather Ayrton was way more than that, which made him as famous as a rock star or a movie star. His name remains the greatest in the Formula 1 till date and maybe forever.
Technically, Ayrton Senna is one of the best drivers the world of motorsport has ever seen to date. He’s got a bunch of impressive numbers in the bag to prove this: 162 races, 3 world championship titles, 41 wins, 80 podiums, 69 pole positions and 19 fastest laps. And we need to remember that he belonged to the era when Formula 1 was still a man’s sport with untamable monsters for cars and safety regulations that would sound ridiculous today.
We admire his skills as a driver, but his character as a person is much more fascinating . Senna was a kind of person that would fight for the top spot right down to the last damn meter. He had no problem pushing his opponents out of the track or putting them in jeopardy so they either had to back off or prepare for a massive crash. In short he wasn’t afraid of fighting dirty. He didn’t even apologized when he deliberately crashed into Alain Prost because he knew if Alain didn’t finish he’d become the world champion.
But then, he was also the kind of person who would stop in the middle of his race to get and out and help a fellow driver who’s crashed! As greedy he was on the race track, he was generous in real life, donating millions to help under underprivileged people in his homeland Brazil. These paradoxes are what make him such an incredible person.
And so it did, on May 1, 1994, in the San Marino Grand Prix, where his race-leading Williams inexplicably speared off the Imola track and hit the concrete wall at Tamburello corner. Millions saw it happen on television, the world mourned his passing and his state funeral in Sao Paulo was attended by many members of the shocked Formula One community.
None of the current Formula 1 champs will ever match him. Sure lots of them can achieve bigger success on the track, but none of them can have the awesome character of Senna.
As a tribute to the world’s all time greatest racing driver Ayrton Senna, a documentary based on Senna’s life is going to be released in this autumn.