If there is one name that every Formula 1 fan knows (or should know), it is that of Ayrton Senna da Silva. Last year, this legend, born in Sao Paulo (Brazil), would have turned sixty years old and as time goes by, his memory seems to be more and more present.
His father admitted that he never imagined his son would become a racing driver (much less achieve all the accomplishments he did). When he decided to build a makeshift go-kart out of an engine taken from a cane grinder, he did so with the intention of providing a distraction for his restless son, a toy. Ayrton’s love affair with motorsport began at the age of four, and at eight he began to compete with other boys almost twice his age. From a very young age he proved to be a driving prodigy and destined for great things.
At the age of 18 he arrived in Europe and for six years he showed his hunger for the world, before making the big leap to Formula 1 in 1984, the dream of any kid who gets into a kart. If Senna went down in history, it was not only because of his achievements and his tragic death, but also because of the way he drove.
For many experts, Ayrton Senna is the fastest driver in history. The Brazilian had no qualms about saving valuable seconds on the track and used various techniques to maintain engine power and maintain a high speed, even in the corners. The aggressiveness, combativeness and daring of ‘O Chefe’ made millions of fans fall in love with him. Quiet and boring races did not exist with Senna and the numerous on-track duels he starred in with different drivers kept anyone on the edge of their seat.
His legacy transcends the three world championship titles he won. It encompasses courage, the fear of not taking risks and the love for a sport that must cope with the unstoppable automation of the world. His tragic death mythologized him. That damned San Marino Grand Prix, that damned Tamburello corner, that damned technical failure and those damned injuries that extinguished his consciousness forever were the grim checkered flag that marked the end of a race he won: the one of immortality. Because Senna didn’t die, he multiplied and became eternal.
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