Ayrton Senna: A perspective from a Millennial
Last week was a depressing week for F1 fans around the world as it marked 25 years since the death of the Austrian F1 driver Roland Ratzenberger and Brazilian F1 legend Ayrton Senna. May 1st consisted of many tributes by previous employers, drivers and worldwide fans to the 3 times world champion. While reading through the tributes, I couldn't help but recognise how wide an impact the Brazilian had on the world of motorsport and greater afield.
Senna racing through Monaco. A track where he won six times during his career, including a record five consecutive times between 1989 and 1993.
I wanted to write this article as unlike most of the people who left a tribute to Senna who were lucky enough to live through the 10 short, but spectacular years he raced in F1, I wasn't alive and have only been able to look back and admire the great. For example, I believe the first time I'd ever heard or even seen Senna was due to the Top Gear tribute which aired in 2010 when I was around 10 years old and although I didn't know who he was then, it wasn't the last I'd watch him. Especially after the release of the film Senna, I believe this film was a true picture of him-a determined, ruthless and passionate F1 driver.
The debate to whether Senna was the greatest driver of all time is and always will be a heated topic of debate over a few pints in the pub, but there is no denying that after watching hours of footage, stories and articles on the legend that he is up there with the likes of Schumacher, Fangio, Hamilton and Vettel. His skill was displayed through the likes of Donnington 1993, to him going one-handed through Monaco or to my personal favourite moment when he purposefully crashed into Prost at the first corner of the 1990 Japanese GP.
However, the reason Senna stands above the other drivers is that Senna was much more than a driver. He was a massively religious man, who contrary to his driving, would put himself first to help others which was most visible when he got out of his own car to save the life of Erik Comas in 1992. Likewise, Senna was arguably the greatest figure to come out of Brazil but he also gave back to his country. This caring nature from Senna is still alive today with the Ayrton Senna Institute, which 25 years after the idols death, benefits 1.5 million students per year in helping with educational needs.
Senna running out of his car to turn the engine of fellow racing driver Erik Comas' car as the car was leaking fuel and a fire would of most likely broken out if Senna didn't help.
We all have our own opinion of Ayrton's driving ability and to whether he was as great as many people make out to be but there is no denying that he was gifted. However, he is also remembered for more than an F1 legend as today many people owe it to him. For example, the F1 drivers after the 1994 horror owe it to him for the improvement in safety in F1, the many children and families whose lives he has helped posthumously, and we the fans owe it to him for the incredible driving we still look over now and admire. Although I wasn't alive during his time, I personally think that the current F1 season is mind-numbingly boring and it will never be as exciting as it looked back then.
Thanks for reading, I will leave you with this clip from the Senna movie.