Thirty years after his tragic death in Imola, what remains of Ayrton Senna’s legacy?

Thirty years after his tragic death in Imola, what remains of Ayrton Senna’s legacy?
Thirty years after his tragic death in Imola, what remains of Ayrton Senna’s legacy?

Certain dates mark a life, among Formula 1 fans, May 1, 1994 is one of them. On this far from ordinary Grand Prix Sunday, no one suspected that the great Ayrton Senna was going to live his last moments. Yet, There was no lack of warning signs as this race was about to take a dark turn. Between a first moment of fear on Friday, with the accident of Rubens Barrichello injured in the ribs and arms, then a first drama with the sad death of Roland Ratzenberger after a head-on collision with the wall at the Tosa bend, the Imola Grand Prix was already in mourning before a final tragedy. Despite their minds being tormented by the nature of the events, the drivers took the start of a race which would turn dark. After 7 laps completed, Ayrton Senna enters the Tamburello curve, the Brazilian loses control and hits the wall with unprecedented violence at more than 300km/h. The death of Ayrton Senna was only announced a few hours after his accident, even if the Brazilian lost his life instantly. A dramatic and significant event for the entire F1 community and beyond.

The legend lives on

Admired and hated, everyone has a unique memory of Ayrton Senna. Beyond his 65 pole positions and 41 victories, many remember a man with two sides. The first, that of the pilot determined to win, as seen during legendary battles more or less clean with Alain Prost. The second, that of a man going beyond his sport and working for the good of the most deprived in his country. Today, the image of Senna is still very often mentioned by several drivers. “ When I was younger and watched him on TV, I wanted to be like him, says Lewis Hamilton. My approach to racing was shaped by him. » Every season during the Brazilian Grand Prix, no driver fails to pay tribute to the three-time Brazilian world champion. “ I admired him for his ability to be adored off the track, not just in Brazil but almost everywhere in the world, explains Daniel Ricciardo. On the circuit he was ruthless while off it he had admirable tenderness. Today, Ayrton Senna has certainly left a legacy greater than anyone. »

A timeless idol

Thirty years after his death, the Brazilian’s legacy transcends generations to the point that certain pilots who were not even born during his exploits feel a connection to the Paulist. “ My father was an absolute fan of Ayrton Sennaexplains Charles Leclerc born in 1997, three years after Senna’s death. I was raised in this passion, I saw several videos, notably of his exploits in Monaco […] He had such a physiognomy and exuded such strength, in other words a true Source of inspiration for all pilots. » In addition to being a reference on the track, the Brazilian has become much more than a racing driver. Formula 2 champion Théo Pourchaire declares: “ Senna is part of all of our lives, even those who don’t follow motorsport know who he is. The Riviera pilot adds, I had the chance to discover it better thanks to the documentary Senna. This film was a trigger for me, I really realized how immense Senna was in our sport and beyond. »

A man at the heart of culture and philanthropy

Despite the passage of time, the Senna myth continues to persist around the world. Beyond sport, the life of the Brazilian has often fascinated the field of culture. With his striking personality, Ayrton Senna has always captivated the public. Almost ten years after conquering the cinematographic universe with the film Senna directed by Asif Kapadia in 2010, Ayrton Senna should soon make his return to the screens with a Netflix series dedicated to his career. Apart from the rhinestones and sequins, the legend of F1 continues to exist through what was most important to him, a foundation. Created in 1994 shortly before his death, the Senna Institute helps more than 30 million deprived children. Managed by Bianca Senna – niece of Ayrton Senna -, this foundation keeps alive the values ​​of a man ready to help those in difficulty. “ Ayrton Senna wanted to give children the chance he hadsays Bianca Senna, president of the institute. The goal was to provide them with opportunities to succeed in life. » Thirty years after the Imola tragedy, Ayrton Senna can still count on a rich heritage to almost appear immortal.

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