Formula 1 | On this day, 30 years ago: the last goodbye to Ayrton Senna

Formula 1 | On this day, 30 years ago: the last goodbye to Ayrton Senna
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Laura Narbona

05/01/2024 at 08:00


He May 1, 1994 It will be a difficult date to forget for any Formula 1 fan. Exactly 30 years ago, a tragic accident in the Tamburello curve Imola Circuit It marked a before and after in the history of the competition: Ayrton sennathe driver who for many was destined to win everything, lost his life at the San Marino Grand Prix.

And it is that Senna was not just another driver. His cold, calculating, and, at times, mystical character, along with the aggressiveness of his driving style, caused the Brazilian to be as loved as hated by everyone. Senna’s charisma overflowed all levels, it had no limits. It was a kind of hurricane that left a mark wherever he went.

Born on March 21, 1960 in São Paulo (Brazil), Ayrton Senna was always clear about his two devotions: God and cars. Religious like few others, the Brazilian He got into a kart for the first time when he was 13 years old.. Eight years later, he moved to England to dedicate himself professionally to competition, resigning from his job in his father’s company and divorcing his wife, because there was only one goal in his mind: reach Formula 1.

Senna’s great dream

In 1984the sacrifice and work bore fruit, and Senna debuted in the highest category of motorsport, within the modest team Toleman. In 1985 he signed for Lotusteam he was on three years and with which he managed to climb to the top of the podium up to six times.

But the Brazilian wanted to go further, and, with the goal of being World Champion, In 1988 he moved to McLaren, a structure with which he won three world championships. (1988, 1990 and 1991). During his years at McLaren, Senna shared the box with what would be his biggest rival on the track, the Frenchman. Alain Prostwith whom he had more than one friction during those seasons. Prost became the Brazilian’s most intimate enemyand the rivalry and disagreements between the two were recurrent during those years.


The technical and internal problems of McLaren In the following seasons, Senna decided to sign for Williams for 1994. However, the Brazilian was only able to play three big prizes with the British team before the tragic accident in Imola that cost him his life.

The pilot of both faces

Ayrton Senna had the ability to provoke two extreme feelings towards him: unconditional love or eternal hate. Although the Brazilian driver demonstrated his big heart on numerous occasions, with his donations to the most disadvantaged children of his native Brazil or actions like that of 1992 Belgian Grand Prixin which, running the risk of being run over, he stopped his car to help a driver who had just suffered an accident, the great temperament and arrogance of the Brazilian caused more than one confrontation both on and off the track.

And his fast and aggressive driving stylewho always bothered most of his rivals, was accompanied by a reserved, analytical and, at times, arrogant character. The truth is that the driver from São Paulo was not known for being humble, which is why he ended up earning great enmities among his rivals, who, according to Senna himself, They didn’t want him because “his sin was being fast”.

Senna’s strong personality, along with his aggressiveness on the track, caused the Brazilian driver to become involved in more than one controversy. While pilots like Alain Prost They accused him of caring more about winning than his own life, the former general director of Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestoneadmitted that “Senna was a quite complicated guy, with internal conflicts and that kind of stuff.

For its part, Mark Blundell, former McLaren test driver, revealed a few years ago on the official Formula 1 podcast the most unknown side of the São Paulo driver. According to Blundell, the Brazilian “He was a mix between genius and madness, as well as selfish.”. For the former British driver, Senna always made sure he got everything he needed to succeed, trying get the most out of the people around you.

What is clear is that Ayrton Senna left a great legacy in the Formula 1 World Championship, and, despite the fact that three decades have passed since his terrible accident, his memory is still very present among fans of the competition.



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