Guest Post: Happy 52nd Birthday Senna – Trackmann

Every sport has a particular figure that defines that sport in its era, when you think football you think Maradona, when you think  basketball you think Michael Jordan and when you think motor racing you think Senna. In 2009 Autosport magazine conduct a poll of 217 current and former F1 drivers and Senna was named “the greatest Formula 1 driver that ever lived.”

3 world championships, 161 Grand Prix, 65 pole positions, 41 victories, 19 fastest laps… He had a lethal strike rate and won one in four races he started.

Senna was the master of the overtake and had perfected driving in the wet, in fact he almost won his first ever Monaco Grand Prix had the race not been controversialy stopped due to the immense rain that Sunday afternoon. Senna had qualified in 13th position for that race in a mid field car but as it rained,  he displayed exceptional driving skills and he had climbed to 2nd position before the officials red flagged the race… It was his will to win and endless pursuit of success that endeared him to fans across the world.

In the 80s and 90s there were no team curfews that limit the amount of time a driver spent with the team and Senna would stay in the garage with the engineers until midnight working on the car to understand it better. During testing, Senna’s team mate, Nigel Mansel would only come to drive. He’d put in ferocious laps and then leave for a round of golf but Senna stayed with the engineers the whole day.

Senna was a devout Catholic and he believed that it was his God given “right to win”. He perceived motorsport as a way to measure his personal limits as a human being and he also said that a Formula 1 car is a lonely place and in a crowded world it gave him lots of time to think and to be with God. Sometimes after winning a Grand Prix he said that he saw God on the track.

Senna loved his fans and he was the people’s champion. During one of the Brazilian Grand Prix, his gear box jammed in 6th gear with a couple of laps to go… he also had muscle crumps due to his sitting position and had injured his shoulder, but he still won this race and lifted the trophy with his injured shoulder, just to show his fans that he loved them.

Senna was one half of the best ever F1 duo the world had ever seen. In 1988 he joined McLaren to partner with Alain Prost and one of the biggest sporting rivalries of the 80s and 90s was born. These two masters of the craft pushed each other to their limits. Think about it as Hamilton and Vettel at Redbull together.

It was 1st May 1994 at Imola that motorsport fans will always remember. 12.88 seconds into lap 7 Senna went off at Tamburello and hit the wall. This is the crash that ended Senna’s short and successful life. At his funeral a million people lined the streets of Sao Paulo to bid him goodbye. His arch rival Alain Prost was a pall bearer at his funeral a gesture that showed the world that their feud was over. Alain Prost and Viviane Senna, Senna’s sister are the ones who run Senna’s charity that has educated more than 12 million in Brazil to date.

The world lost a racing legend but Brazil lost a son and a helper. … Had he lived, he would have celebrated his 52nd birthday yesterday.

Here’s Top Gear tribute to Artyon Senna

Post by Trackmann

Check out his blog here

Photos Courtesy Google Images

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One thought on “Guest Post: Happy 52nd Birthday Senna – Trackmann

  1. Pingback: Barrichello back in Williams frame | - 4

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