Remembering my GOAT: Ayrton Senna

May 1, 2024

You know those days when something truly terrible has happened in the world and you can still remember exactly where you were at the time? For me, these dates are: 31st August 1997, 11th September 2001 and 1st May 1994.

30 years on, I’m still feeling very emotional about that fateful weekend at Imola: yesterday I posted a picture of Roland Ratzenberger on a few online groups, and commiserated with a couple of drivers who have had the privilege of racing alongside him.

I’m told that Roland was a very likeable and hard working person who had finally achieved his goal of making the step up to F1 in 1994, partnering David Brabham in the newly established Simtek team. Sadly he was killed when his wing failed during Qualifying on 30th April; who knows what he could have achieved alongside David if this hadn’t happened…

The exact cause of Ayrton’s crash was never established, so it’s been impossible to  get any form of understanding and acceptance, if this is even remotely possible after such a tragic death. F1 had been free of fatalities for over a decade and most of us were still in complete shock after Roland’s death the day before.

The 30th-anniversary memorial at Imola today will be open to members of the public, starting with a walk to commemorate both drivers. There will be a service at Tamburello at 13:30h and a minute’s silence will be held at 14:17h, the time of Ayrton’s crash, before everyone then moves on to the Villeneuve chicane to remember Roland.

Today, I pay tribute to my F1 GOAT, someone who drove with an innate talent and intuition that was mesmerising to watch. F1 lost more than Ayrton Senna on that fateful day; it lost a bit of magic… A winner of three F1 world championships in 1988,1990 and 1991 comprising 41 race wins and 65 pole positions, his name will never be forgotten.

He wasn’t just a driver; he got involved with the engineers, pit crew and managers, demanding the same level of dedication and commitment from everyone around him – truly inspiring to all who had the privilege of being part of McLaren at the time, a team where he achieved most of his successes.

Remembering Ayrton Senna 
21 March 1960 – 1st May  1994

RIP Champ 🙏

 

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