Today in Automotive History: Ayrton Senna Dies
19 years ago today, one of the most brilliant Formula 1 racers of all time, Ayrton Senna, was killed during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix in Italy. Only 34 years old, Senna’s legacy as the world’s best racer was cemented in 1988, when he became World Champion for the first time, despite teammate Alain Prost scoring more points. Their rivalry that began during the 1988 season continued well until Prost’s retirement after the 1993 season. That rivalry serves as a centerpiece to the brilliant 2010 documentary Senna, which includes Prost’s royal screwing of Senna at the 1989 Japanese GP (watch it here if you have Netflix. Even if you don’t know a thing about racing, it’s still a fantastic watch). Senna regained his Champion status in 1990 and again in 1991.
Senna fought many battles on and off the race track, whether it was him versus other drivers or FIA President Jean-Marie Balestre, but he constantly fought for more safety regulations in F1, an inherently dangerous sport. The morning of his death, Senna met with other drivers in an attempt to force greater safety conditions as a result of the previous day’s death of Roland Ratzenberger during qualifying for the San Marino GP. More stringent regulations appeared in F1 soon after as a result of his and Ratzenberger’s passings. Here are just a few highlights from Senna’s remarkable career.
Ayrton Senn’a First Pole Position and Win in Formula 1
1989 Japanese Grand Prix – Senna vs. Prost
Senna Allows Teammate Gerhard Berger to Win 1991 Japanese Grand Prix
Senna Rushes to Help Crashed Éric Comas
From 5th to 1st in One Lap – 1993 European Grand Prix: