164 Facts About Ayrton Senna


Ayrton Senna da Silva was a Brazilian racing driver who won the Formula One World Drivers' Championship in 1988,1990, and 1991.


Ayrton Senna died in an accident while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, driving for the Williams team.


Ayrton Senna began his motorsport career in karting, moved up to open-wheel racing in 1981 and won the 1983 British Formula Three Championship.


Ayrton Senna made his Formula One debut with Toleman-Hart in 1984, before moving to Lotus-Renault the following year and winning six Grands Prix over the next three seasons.


Between them, they won all but one of the 16 Grands Prix that year, and Ayrton Senna claimed his first World Championship.


Ayrton Senna nonetheless managed to finish the 1993 season as runner-up, winning five races and negotiating a move to Williams in 1994.


Ayrton Senna was recognised for his qualifying speed over one lap, and from 1989 until 2006 he held the record for most pole positions.


Ayrton Senna was acclaimed for his wet weather performances, such as the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix, and the 1993 European Grand Prix.


Ayrton Senna holds a record six victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, is the fifth-most successful driver of all time in terms of race wins and has won more races for McLaren than any other driver.


Ayrton Senna courted controversy throughout his career, particularly during his turbulent rivalry with Alain Prost.


Ayrton Senna was born at 2:35am on Monday, 21 March 1960, in the Pro-Matre Maternity Hospital of Santana, a neighbourhood of Sao Paulo.


Ayrton Senna's mother was the granddaughter of Italian immigrants, while his father was born to a Spanish mother and a Brazilian father from Sao Paulo.


The house where Ayrton Senna spent the first four years of his life belonged to Neide's father, Joao Ayrton Senna.


Ayrton Senna was highly athletic, excelling in gymnastics and other sports, and developed an interest in cars and motor racing at the age of four.


At the age of seven, Ayrton Senna first learned to drive a Jeep around his family's farm and how to change gears without using a clutch.


Ayrton Senna attended Colegio Rio Branco in the Sao Paulo neighbourhood of Higienopolis and graduated in 1977 with a grade 5 in physics along with other grades in mathematics, chemistry, and English.


Ayrton Senna later enrolled in a college that specialised in business administration, but dropped out after three months.


Ayrton Senna started racing at Interlagos and entered a karting competition at the age of 13.


Ayrton Senna started his first race on pole position, facing rivals who were some years older than him; despite this, he managed to lead most of the race before retiring after colliding with a rival.


Ayrton Senna's father supported his son and Lucio Pascal Gascon soon managed the developing talent.


Ayrton Senna went on to win the South American Kart Championship in 1977.


Ayrton Senna contested the Karting World Championship each year from 1978 to 1982, finishing runner-up in 1979 and 1980.


In 1978, he was the teammate of Terry Fullerton, from whom Ayrton Senna later felt was the rival he got the most satisfaction racing against because of the lack of money and politics at that level.


In 1981, Ayrton Senna moved to Eaton near Norwich in England to begin single-seater racing, winning the RAC and Townsend Thoresen Formula Ford 1600 Championships that year with the Van Diemen team.


Ayrton Senna went on to win the 1982 British and European Formula Ford 2000 championships.


In 1983, Ayrton Senna drove in the British Formula Three Championship for the West Surrey Racing team.


Ayrton Senna dominated the first half of the season until Martin Brundle, driving a similar car for Eddie Jordan Racing, closed the gap in the second part of the championship.


Ayrton Senna won the title at the final round after a closely fought and, at times, acrimonious battle with the Briton.


Ayrton Senna was managed for most of his career by Armando Teixeira, who was assisted by Domingo Piedade.


In 1983, Ayrton Senna tested for Formula One teams Williams, McLaren, Brabham, and Toleman.


Peter Warr of Lotus, Ron Dennis of McLaren, and Bernie Ecclestone of Brabham made offers for testing in 1984 and presented long-term contracts that tied Ayrton Senna to driving later on.


Ayrton Senna was determined to drive that season and certainly on his own terms.


Ayrton Senna impressed the Brabham team and was linked to their second seat.


Consequently, Ayrton Senna joined Toleman, a relatively new team, using less competitive Pirelli tyres.


In 1984, Ayrton Senna hired Nuno Cobra to assess his physical condition due to his concern over his low weight.


Ayrton Senna made his debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro, where he qualified 17th, but retired when the Hart 415T turbocharger failed on lap 8.


Ayrton Senna scored his first World Championship point when he finished 6th in his second race at the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami with severe cramp in his neck and shoulders, and replicated that result two weeks later at the Belgian Grand Prix.


Ayrton Senna then suffered a fuel-pressure problem in the wet Saturday session at Tosa and did not have enough time for it to be fixed to allow him to make the grid.


Ayrton Senna quickly began to cut the gap to race leader Alain Prost, but before he could attack Prost, the race was stopped on lap 31 for safety reasons, as the rain had grown even heavier.


At the time the race was stopped, Ayrton Senna was catching Prost by about 4 seconds per lap.


The car was reasonably competitive there, so we expected to have a good race, but Ayrton Senna spun early in the race.


Ayrton Senna then found his way back through the field in a quite effective way and we were looking for a pretty good finish, but then he hit the wall, damaged the rear wheel and the driveshaft and retired, which was a real shame.


Ayrton Senna did not take part in the Italian Grand Prix after he was suspended by Toleman for being in breach of his contract by entering talks with Lotus for 1985 without informing the Toleman team first.


Ayrton Senna became the first driver Lotus had signed not personally chosen by team founder Colin Chapman, who had died in 1982.


Ayrton Senna was partnered in his first year at Lotus-Renault by Italian driver Elio de Angelis.


Ayrton Senna had dominated testing times at Rio, although he retired with electrical issues during the race weekend.


At the second round of the season, the Portuguese Grand Prix, Ayrton Senna took the first pole position of his Formula 1 career.


Ayrton Senna converted it into his first victory in the race, which was held in very wet conditions, winning by over a minute from Michele Alboreto in the Ferrari and lapping everyone up to and including 3rd placed Patrick Tambay.


Ayrton Senna led at the San Marino, Monaco, British and German Grands Prix but retired from all these races either from engine failure or running out of fuel, and he had a huge accident at the French Grand Prix at the Circuit Paul Ricard's fastest corner after an engine failure in the middle of the corner.


Ayrton Senna did not finish in the points again until coming second at the Austrian Grand Prix, despite taking pole three more times in the intervening period.


Two more podiums followed in the Netherlands and Italy, before Ayrton Senna added his second victory in wet-dry conditions, at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.


In terms of qualifying Ayrton Senna had begun to establish himself as the quickest in the field: his tally of seven poles that season was far more than that of any of the other drivers.


De Angelis was replaced at Lotus by Scotland's Johnny Dumfries after Ayrton Senna vetoed Derek Warwick from joining the team, saying that Lotus could not run competitive cars for two top drivers at the same time.


Nonetheless, Ayrton Senna was once more the top qualifier with eight poles, with a further six podium finishes included another win at the Detroit Grand Prix, thus finishing the season fourth in the driver's standings again, with a total of 55 points.


Ayrton Senna had a brief foray into rallying where he tried out a Vauxhall Nova, an MG Metro 6R4, a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth and a Ford Escort on a stretch of land closed to the public.


Ayrton Senna started the season with mixed fortunes: a podium at the San Marino Grand Prix was tempered by controversy at the following race at Spa-Francorchamps, where he collided with Mansell, and afterward in the pits an irate Mansell grabbed Ayrton Senna by the throat and had to be restrained by Lotus mechanics.


Ayrton Senna then won two races in a row, which helped him take the lead in the World Championship: the ensuing Monaco Grand Prix and the Detroit Grand Prix, his second victory in two years at the angular Michigan street circuit and the first ever for an active suspension F1 car.


Ayrton Senna became dissatisfied with his chances at Lotus and at Monza it was announced that he would be joining McLaren for 1988.


Ayrton Senna finished the season strongly, coming second in the final two races in Japan and Australia, however post-race scrutineering at the final race found the brake ducts of his Lotus to be wider than permitted by the rules and he was disqualified, bringing his last and most successful season with Lotus to a sour end.


Ayrton Senna was classified third in the final standings, with 57 points, six podium finishes and only one pole position.


In 1988, due to the relationship he had built up with Honda throughout the 1987 season with Lotus, and with the approval of McLaren's number-one driver and then-double world champion, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna joined the McLaren team.


At the post-race team debrief, Prost voiced his anger at the move which prompted Ayrton Senna to apologize to Prost for the incident.


Prost scored more points over the season, but had to drop three-second places as only the 11 best scores counted, meaning that Ayrton Senna bested Prost by 3 points.


Tension and mistrust between the two drivers increased when Ayrton Senna overtook Prost at the restart of the San Marino Grand Prix, a move which Prost claimed violated a pre-race agreement.


Ayrton Senna took an early lead in the championship with victories in San Marino, Monaco, and Mexico.


Ayrton Senna led every lap of those races, a feat unequalled until Sebastian Vettel replicated it in 2012.


Prost had managed to leave the grid faster than Ayrton Senna by removing the gurney flap from his car, which was unbeknownst to Ayrton Senna.


On lap 46, Ayrton Senna had finally come next to Prost and attempted a pass on the inside at the tight last chicane.


Prost abandoned the race at that point, whereas Ayrton Senna urged marshals for a push-start, which he received, then proceeding with the race after a pit stop to replace the damaged nose on his car.


Ayrton Senna took the lead from the Benetton of Alessandro Nannini and went on to claim victory, only to be disqualified following a stewards meeting after the race.


Ayrton Senna was disqualified for receiving a push start, cutting the chicane after the collision with Prost, and for crossing into the pit lane entry which was not part of the track.


Ayrton Senna claimed that Balestre had forced the race stewards to disqualify him so his fellow Frenchman Prost could win the championship, though the stewards of the meeting denied that Balestre forced their decision, claiming that he was not present when the decision was made.


Ayrton Senna finished the season second with six wins and one second place.


Prost, who could not stand working with Ayrton Senna in what he felt was a hostile environment, left McLaren for rivals Ferrari for the following year.


In 1990, Ayrton Senna took a commanding lead in the championship with six wins, two second-places, and three thirds.


Ayrton Senna had gone out with a damaged radiator, and the gap between Ayrton Senna and Prost was now reduced to 9 points with two races remaining.


Ayrton Senna maintained that prior to qualifying fastest, he had sought and received assurances from race officials that pole position would be changed to the left, clean side of the track, only to find this decision reversed by Jean-Marie Balestre after he had taken pole.


Ayrton Senna said that he was not going to accept what he saw as unfair decision-making by Balestre, including his 1989 disqualification and the incorrect pole position in 1990.


Ayrton Senna stated that no matter what happened, he would not yield the corner and that Prost taking his normal racing line would result in an accident.


In 1991, Ayrton Senna became the youngest ever three-time world champion, taking seven wins and increasing his pole position record to 60 from 127 events.


In preseason testing, Ayrton Senna made public misgivings about the car's competitiveness with the new Honda V12, stating that the engine was not as powerful as the prior year's V10.


Ayrton Senna won the first four races in Phoenix, Brazil, Imola and Monaco as his rivals struggled to match his pace and reliability.


Ayrton Senna finished second, handing the victory to teammate Gerhard Berger at the last corner as a thank-you gesture for his support over the season.


That year, as had been the case in 1988 and 1990, Ayrton Senna won the "International Racing Driver Award" granted by British magazine Autosport annually.


The award was presented by Stirling Moss and Ayrton Senna was interviewed on stage by Formula 1 commentator, Murray Walker.


Ayrton Senna had to be extricated from the car by circuit doctors while wearing a neck brace; although he raced the next day, he had fo retire from the race due to gearbox failure.


Ayrton Senna scored wins in Monaco, Hungary, and Italy that year.


Ayrton Senna could hear the stricken car's engine revving at max RPM, and he exited his car and ran across the track to help the Frenchman and shut off the car's screaming engine, disregarding his own safety in an effort to aid a fellow driver.


Ayrton Senna's actions won universal praise from within Formula One and seemed to soften his hard-nosed image.


Ayrton Senna finished fourth overall in the championship, behind the Williams duo of Mansell and Riccardo Patrese, and Benetton's Michael Schumacher.


At the 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix, Schumacher accused Ayrton Senna of 'playing around' while attempting to overtake Ayrton Senna, who had a problem with his engine.


At the French Grand Prix, Schumacher collided with Ayrton Senna, resulting in Ayrton Senna's retirement.


Ayrton Senna later confronted Schumacher, who admitted responsibility for the accident.


Ferrari had offered him a contract which Ayrton Senna discussed with Niki Lauda, but decided to decline the offer.


Ayrton Senna felt the McLaren cars were becoming less competitive than in previous years, especially given Honda's decision to abandon the sport at the end of 1992 due to economic issues and McLaren's lack of active suspension relating to rival Williams.


In December 1992, in fact, Ayrton Senna visited Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona near Phoenix in the United States to test a 1992 Penske PC-21 CART Indianapolis car.


However, despite Ayrton Senna going so far as to be willing to forfeit his annual salary just to drive one of Williams' Renaults, this too would fail.


Ayrton Senna's contract included a caveat that he had veto power over who he would team with in the other car for 1993; since he still had ill will toward his former McLaren teammate, Prost used that veto to freeze out Senna and force him into what was now a lame-duck season for the Brazilian at McLaren.


Ayrton Senna thus extended his deal with McLaren on a race-by-race basis instead of a full-year contract, ending up staying for the whole of 1993 in any event.


Ayrton Senna then scored a second-place finish in Spain and a record-breaking sixth win at Monaco, breaking Graham Hill's record of five.


Ayrton Senna won the penultimate race of the season in Japan, which was marked by an incident involving Jordan's rookie Eddie Irvine, twice unlapping himself against Ayrton Senna.


The win in Adelaide was an emotional one due to Ayrton Senna ending his successful career with McLaren and defeating his biggest rival, Prost, for the last time.


The first race of the season was at Interlagos in Brazil, where Ayrton Senna took pole position.


Ayrton Senna took an early lead, but Schumacher's Benetton was never far behind.


The second race was the inaugural Pacific Grand Prix at Aida, where Ayrton Senna again placed the car on the pole.


For example, instead of returning to the pit area after his first lap retirement at the Pacific Grand Prix, Ayrton Senna opted to stand near the first corner and watch the cars complete the race to see if he could detect whether any now banned traction control system was being used.


Ayrton Senna returned to the Williams pits after the race, suspicious that the Benetton car was illegal.


Ayrton Senna, who did not finish the two opening races of the season, declared that this was where his season would start, with 14 races, as opposed to 16, in which to win the title.


Barrichello reported that Ayrton Senna was the first person he saw upon regaining consciousness.


Ayrton Senna was later called in front of the stewards for commandeering an official car and climbing the medical centre fence, and a row ensued, although Ayrton Senna was not punished.


Ayrton Senna spent his final morning on Sunday talking to former teammate and rival Alain Prost to discuss the re-establishment of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, a driver's union, with the aim of improving safety in Formula One.


At the start of the Grand Prix, Ayrton Senna retained the lead from his chief rival Michael Schumacher, but proceedings were soon interrupted by a startline accident.


Ayrton Senna pulled alongside the Vectra and gestured to the driver, Max Angelelli, to increase his speed.


The initial treatment took place by the side of the car, with Ayrton Senna having a weak heartbeat and significant blood loss from his temporal artery being ruptured.


At 18:40, the head of the hospital's emergency department, Maria Teresa Fiandri made the announcement that Ayrton Senna had died, but said the official time of death under Italian law was 14:17, which is when he impacted the wall and his brain stopped functioning.


Watkins later said that as soon as he saw Ayrton Senna's fully dilated pupils, he knew that his brainstem was inactive and that he would not survive.


Ayrton Senna sustained fatal skull fractures, brain injuries and a ruptured temporal artery, a major blood vessel supplying the face and scalp.


Ayrton Senna's death was considered by many of his Brazilian fans to be a national tragedy, and the Government of Brazil declared three days of national mourning.


The Italian Air Force offered to fly the coffin back to Brazil, but the Ayrton Senna family wished that it return home in a Brazilian plane.


Contrary to airline policy and out of respect, Ayrton Senna's coffin was allowed to be flown back to his home country in the passenger cabin of a VARIG McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 airliner, accompanied by his distraught younger brother, Leonardo, and close friends.


Ayrton Senna had a special relationship with company founder Soichiro Honda and was beloved in Japan, where he achieved a near-mythic status.


Ayrton Senna's death was thus the subject of criminal proceedings in Italy, which saw key Williams team members investigated and charged with manslaughter.


Ayrton Senna had not liked the position of his FW16's steering wheel relative to the seating position and had asked for the former to be changed.


Ayrton Senna did not participate in many other forms of motorsport once he reached Formula One.


Alain Prost started from pole position, but Ayrton Senna took the lead in the first corner of the first lap, winning the race ahead of Niki Lauda and Carlos Reutemann.


Ayrton Senna finished in 8th place but impressed the team and his co-drivers.


Ayrton Senna took part in the Masters Karting Paris Bercy event in 1993, an indoor karting competition held on a temporary circuit at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy.


Ayrton Senna often read the Bible on long flights from Sao Paulo to Europe.


Ayrton Senna was awarded the No 1 driver of the year by the editor of the Autocourse annual 3 times, in 1988,1991, and 1993, as well as taking the runner-up spot in 1985,1989,1990, and 1992.


The Autocourse editor wrote in 1993 that Ayrton Senna had "intense egocentricity and uniquely flawed genius" and "matchless genius in the wet".


Towards the end of his career, Ayrton Senna became increasingly preoccupied with the dangers of his profession.


Ayrton Senna owned several properties, including an organic farm in Tatui, Brazil, a beach house in Angra dos Reis, Brazil, an apartment in Sao Paulo, Brazil, an apartment in Monaco, an estate in Sintra, on the Portuguese Riviera, and a house in Algarve, Portugal.


Ayrton Senna enjoyed a range of physical activities including running, waterskiing, jet skiing, and paddleboarding.


Ayrton Senna had several hobbies, such as flying real and model planes and helicopters, boating, fishing, and riding his favourite Ducati motorbikes.


Ayrton Senna's private jet was a British Aerospace 125, and he piloted his own helicopter between his residences in Brazil along with travelling to races.


Ayrton Senna was close friends with McLaren teammate Gerhard Berger, and the two were always playing practical jokes on each other.


Ayrton Senna was married to Lilian de Vasconcelos Souza from 1981 until 1982.


Ayrton Senna then courted Adriane Yamin, daughter of an entrepreneur from Sao Paulo, who was 15 years old when they began the relationship in 1985 and often chaperoned by her mother during meetings with Ayrton Senna.


Ayrton Senna dated Brazilian TV star Xuxa from late 1988 until 1990.


Ayrton Senna then dated Christine Ferracciu, who lived with him at his homes in Monaco and Portugal, on and off between 1990 and 1991.


Ayrton Senna had an affair with American model Carol Alt, and briefly dated models Marjorie Andrade and Elle Macpherson.


At the time of his death, Ayrton Senna was in a relationship with Brazilian model, and later TV personality, Adriane Galisteu.


Ayrton Senna alleged that the couple dated from 1992 to 1994.


Ayrton Senna eventually raced in F1 between 2010 and 2012, in the latter year for the Williams team, which was a decision that, reportedly, had a significant emotional impact on the Senna family and was seen by some as a signing only resulting from Bruno's big name and the money it could bring.


Ayrton Senna found the prototype NSX initially lacked chassis stiffness to the level to which he was accustomed, so the final production version was further reinforced to his satisfaction.


Ayrton Senna appeared in different commercials for the 4th generation Honda Prelude.


Ayrton Senna was instrumental in bringing Audi cars into his native country, both as an import and manufacturing business.


In 1999, Audi Ayrton Senna was created as a joint venture of Audi with Ayrton Senna Import.


The Ayrton Senna brand was used for apparel, watches, bicycles, motorcycles and boats.


Ayrton Senna had met various members of the squad, including Ronaldo and Leonardo, three months earlier in Paris, telling them "this is our year".


The game was organised by several devoted Italian and Canadian fans of Ayrton Senna, bringing the Brazil team that won the 1994 World Cup to face the "Nazionale Piloti", an exhibition team composed exclusively of top race car drivers.


That same weekend, Bernie Ecclestone revealed that he still believed Ayrton Senna was and remained the best F1 driver he had ever seen.


Ducati was at the time owned by Claudio Castiglioni, a personal friend of Ayrton Senna who was an avid Ducati owner and endorsed the release of this 916 in March 1994.


In 2002, under the presidency of Castiglioni, MV Agusta released the special-edition F4 750 Ayrton Senna motorbike followed by the F4 Ayrton Senna 1000 in 2006.


Capito admitted that Senna's family did not get involved in the decision to remove the logo, but said that efforts to tighten the team's ties with the Instituto Ayrton Senna were under way.


Ayrton Senna has been voted the best driver of all time in various motorsport polls, including F1 Racing magazine's 2004 poll, and German newspaper Bild am Sonntag's poll of current drivers in 2010.


On 1 May 2014, thousands of fans from around the world gathered at the Tamburello corner, at the exact scene where Ayrton Senna suffered his fatal crash 20 years earlier, to hold a minute's silence.


Flowers and other cherishable items were placed around the statue of Ayrton Senna, situated directly adjacent to the Tamburello corner.


In 2015, when Lewis Hamilton matched Ayrton's three titles, the Senna family gave him an edition of the Ian Berry portrait made out of the family's jeans, Viviane Senna presented it to him at the Sao Paulo GP.


On 19 September 2021, a bronze life-size statue of Ayrton Senna was unveiled in Walbrzych, standing in a street named after him.


Ayrton Senna experimented with several designs to satisfy him, such as a white, yellow, and green helmet, before settling on a design by Sid Mosca that included a yellow background with a green stripe surrounding the upper visor and a light metallic blue stripe surrounding the lower visor that was first seen in 1979; Mosca painted helmets for Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet.


One such change was that Ayrton Senna occasionally altered the stripe from blue to black.


Ayrton Senna used a number of helmet brands throughout his career.


Bruno sported a modified helmet design for the final three races of the 2011 season to honour the 20th anniversary of Ayrton Senna winning his last world championship.