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Honoring a Legend: Senna’s Legacy and Remembrance 30 Years Later

Ayrton Senna was a champion in many ways. Not only did the Brazilian driver win three world championships, but is someone even the best drivers on the current grid look up to. His achievements speak volumes in the racing world, and his legacy will never be forgotten.

Ayrton Senna sitting in his McLaren car. Courtesy of Pascal Rondeau via Getty Images.


Senna’s interest in motorsport began at an early age, when he first stepped into a go-kart at age four. He made his debut in Formula 1 in 1984 with Toleman, kicking off his history-making career.


Senna is best known for his time with McLaren, where he won three world championships and 35 races. For many years, Senna was rivals with his teammate, Alain Prost, with both drivers battling it out for the title four years in a row. 


Senna’s final year with McLaren hosted some of the greatest performances of his career. While Prost may have won the title that year, the five wins Senna claimed were historic and triumphs of their own individually.


Senna cannot be spoken about without mentioning Monaco. He managed to win at the Circuit de Monaco a total of six times, with five of the victories in a row. To this day, Senna still holds the title for the most wins in Monaco in Formula 1 history.

Ayrton Senna driving on the historic circuit in Monaco during the 1993 Formula 1 season. Courtesy of autosport.com.


This year marks the 30 year anniversary of Senna’s death. On May 1, 1994, Senna tragically lost his life during the race in Imola after crashing into a concrete wall at Tamburello corner. 


Imola has honored Senna throughout the years, and his memory has not been forgotten from the Italian circuit. A bronze statue depicting Senna was inaugurated in 1997, and tributes and flowers are placed each year during the race weekend to honor the driver.


While their feud on-track may have been thrilling, Senna and Prost highly respected one another. Prost was even one of several drivers escorting the coffin during his funeral in Sao Paulo. 


Senna is an inspiration to many, but especially Formula 1 drivers. Lewis Hamilton considers Senna his biggest idol and was even gifted his race helmet from 1987 from his family. 


Many tributes were made this year to honor the Brazilian driver. Pierre Gasly wore a close replica of the driver’s infamous helmet during Imola and Sebastian Vettel even made an appearance, driving Senna’s McLaren MP4. 


Vettel’s tribute to Senna was extremely emotional for fans, but also for the driver himself. He claimed to finish the race that the Brazilian driver wasn’t able to. He not only honored Senna, but also the life of Roland Ratzenberger, another driver who lost his life the day before. Stepping out of the car, Vettel raised the Brazilian and Austrian flag for both drivers.

Sebastian Vettel waving the Brazilian and Austrian flag during the Imola Grand Prix race weekend. Courtesy of formula1.com.


Imola wasn’t the only race to honor the late driver as McLaren unveiled a special livery in Monaco with the yellow, green, and blue colors that represent Brazil. Both drivers also had special race helmets to honor Senna in their own ways. With Oscar Piastri managing to secure P2 in the race, it was the perfect way to keep his memory alive.


Two weeks before the historic weekend in Monaco, a large mural depicting Senna was unveiled in Miami. Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra created the mural as a tribute to the driver. The artwork featured the iconic helmet and served as a touching display of respect to Senna’s legacy.


Senna will remain in Formula 1 history as one of the greatest drivers of his time. While he managed to secure three world championships, many wonder what could have been if he would have had the opportunity to continue his career.


The Brazilian driver broke records, captured people’s attention, and will remain cemented in the Formula 1 community for decades to come. It’s inspiring to see that true inspiration and heartwarming tributes can rise in the face of tragedy. 


Edited by Breanna Ebisch

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