Director of Operations

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    Senna Empty Senna

    Post by Ross on 30th April 2009, 14:29

    I THINK it's 2.47pm. Tomorrow at 2.47 it will be 15 years to the death of Ayrton Senna.

    On the same subject, here is some of my mini-profile I have to write about him as part of a college project:

    ‘Passion’, ‘genious’, ‘expertise’ - all words commonly used when describing Ayrton Senna. Ironic, then, that he never drove a Ferrari…


    Senna Hof_profile_right_45

    Brazilian Ayrton Senna is widely regarded as the greatest Formula One driver of all time, by F1 personalities, by fans, and even by his biggest rival - Alain Prost. The sheer determination Senna showed and his spiritualism, rashness on and off track, and his true motivation were enough to put him among the most exciting and unpredictable drivers we have ever seen take to a Formula One car.

    Senna attributed alot of his success to him “finding God” during his racing career. He was a very religious man and had strong beliefs. He claimed on numerous occasions to have seen, spoken to, or had an experience with God, and firmly believed that “with God on your side, anything is possible.”

    But what perhaps set the man apart from any other driver in modern Formula One was his ability to create a persona and character in which he could not be touched. He stood up for his beliefs, he was an incredibly emotional man, and he was respected beyond imagine around the Formula One paddock.

    Early life

    Ayrton Senna da Silva was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil, to wealthy land owner Milton Senna and Neyde da Silva. During his school years, he excelled at gymnastics, art and chemistry, and famously struggled with maths and English. He developed an interest in motors at an early age as his father owned a garage and was a renowned mechanic.

    The Sennas were a prosperous family living in Santana, north Sao Paolo, who were attended by servants and enjoyed all the advantages of wealth. Senna’s childhood is not well chronicled, however some events can be found from certain biographies and fact files.

    It was relatively well-known that Senna suffered from a coordination defect. His mother was quoted as saying that she continually had to buy him two ice creams at the ice cream parlour because her son would inevitably drop one of them. Ayrton, nicknamed ‘Beco’ by his family, would also have trouble performing simple actions such as walking up a flight of stairs.

    Another notable event was that he was diagnosed as hyperactive from a young age, and had trouble making friends and was often seen alone at school.

    What was made very clear when his childhood was discussed with those who knew him, was his passion for cars from a young age. He was bought a pedal car at three, and at age four his father built him a go-kart powered by a 1 horse-power lawnmower engine. This is where the young boy discovered his true passion for racing, and the more involved he got, the less his neurological dysfunctions were an issue. It was almost as though he was cured by his makeshift go-kart that would not travel fast enough for the crude aerodynamic fairing at the front to function.

    At seven, Senna was caught driving a Jeep in one of the family’s fields. Far from punishing him, his father was astonished at the young boy’s capabilities, considering he could barely reach the pedals.

    A year later, Senna’s hot-riding was brought to an abrupt end when there was a knock on the door. The police had escorted young Ayrton home after he was caught driving the family car on public roads.

    Early Career

    Milton Senna was a motorsport fan, particularly Formula 1, and he raised his son as the same. Ayrton’s hero was Jim Clark, and was eight when the Scot died. He was shattered.

    Times moved on, and Senna began to idolise Jackie Stewart. When Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi was promoted into Formula One from humble beginnings like Senna, this only encouraged the then nine year old and raised his aspirations. For his tenth birthday Senna took the wraps off a 100cc kart that he could not race for another three years, but that didn’t stop him driving it.

    Due to Fittipaldi’s success in F1, Brazil applied to host a race, and in 1973 was granted permission, hosting the race that same year at Sao Paolo’s Interlagos circuit - just a stone’s throw away from where Ayrton Senna lived.

    Senna watched Fittipaldi claim two world championships, one with his future team McLaren, and both at his home circuit. When he turned 13, the Brazilian entered for his first kart race at Interlagos, which was to be held on 1st July 1973, 11 years to the day before he would make his Formula One debut.

    Racing became Senna’s life. He worked his way up the ranks of Brazilian karting, and by 1977 was South American Kart champion. He continued to race in karting for a further four years, until 1981, when, aged 21, he travelled to Europe to compete in the Townsend-Thoreson Formula Ford 1600 Championships in England. This is when Senna opted to drop the ‘da Silva’ part to his name, as it was very common in Brazil - the equivalent of ‘Smith’ in the UK.

    Senna drove for Ralph Firman’s Van Diemen team in Formula Ford, where he found that financing could become an issue. He arrived in the UK with £10,000 from his father to invest in his racing career, and soon discovered that a drive in Formula Ford would be on the heavy side of £20,000. Senna had the audacity to ask Firman to actually be paid for a drive, but was soon disabused of that notion.

    However Firman later revealed that privately he had already decided upon Senna’s arrival in the UK that he was going to subsidise half of the £20,000 that it would cost to run a car, and that despite usually charging £30,000 for a drive in his team, the extra £10,000 to make profit, Senna would only have to pay the £10k that he had with him.

    Senna’s first drive in the Van Diemen-Minister RF80 was not an outstanding performance, and Senna was quoted as saying the car was “difficult to drive”. Nevertheless, he was granted a seat.

    Senna’s first full season in single-seater motor racing, and his first year in the UK, was a very successful one. He managed to win 13 of the 18 races, and had wrapped up the championship so early during the season that he was even able to skip some races to compete in the World Kart Championship in Parma, a race that he had never won before, and had no more success this time around.

    Senna was renowned for his business head. This was evident through decisions made so early in his career. Even before winning his first Formula Ford race, he knew that he needed to make himself marketable. He persuaded his father for funding to start him off, and from there, he was his own manager - and a very good one at that.

    The decision to drop part of his name was very successful - mention Senna to someone outside of Formula One and they will smell petrol. He also knew what he needed to become known, and he acted on that after his first race. Senna hired Keith Sutton, founder of Sutton Images, a now world-famous motorsport photography business.

    After winning his first European championship, Senna graduated to the UK Formula 3 Championship in 1983. He battled with British driver Martin Brundle throughout the championship, and the two produced on-track action that some say was closer and more intense than that of Formula One that year.

    His graduation to Formula Three was a relatively easy step, and along with Brundle, Senna began the season as favourite for the championship. He had secured a seat with the West Surrey Racing team, one of the most competitive cars on the F3 grid, while Brundle would be driving for Eddie Jordan Racing.

    The Brazilian dominated the first half of the season, winning the first nine races, and took a strong lead in the championship. Eddie Jordan’s driver, however, closed in on Senna throughout the second half of the year, and by the championship showdown at Thruxton, was within touch of the championship.

    West Surrey Racing had discovered during the second half of the season that Martin Brundle’s advantage was due to his team’s superior engines. The team secured the same engine deal with Novamotor for the final few races, and Senna had the ideal opportunity to be recognised: the pressure was on, the rain was falling, and Formula One teams were watching as the title was decided for the championship that was the final stepping stone to F1.

    All Ayrton Senna needed to do was finish ahead of Brundle; he did so. Senna dominated the race from pole, showing off his skills in the rain along the way.

    As a celebration after the season, Senna took part in the inaugral Macau F3 Grand Prix, which he won, this time racing for Teddy Yip’s Theodore Racing Team.

    Formula One

    During his Formula Three season, Senna tested for the Toleman, Lotus, McLaren and Williams Formula One teams in that order chronologically, coincidentally the order in which Senna raced for those teams throughout his F1 career.

    When the 1983 Formula One season was over and the recruiting time of year was looming, it emerged that Williams and McLaren, both of whom had run world championship-contending cars that year, had no seats vacant for 1984. Senna was going to have to settle for a lower-placed team.

    Brabham, another team for which Senna had tested during his year in Formula Three, had a spare seat, but Senna’s fellow countryman and reigning world champion Nelson Piquet opposed to the rookie joining the team.

    Piquet said his reasoning was nothing personal to Senna, just that he thought he had found a bigger talent in the form of his close friend Roberto Moreno. This boded well for the team’s title sponsor Parmalat too, as they wanted an Italian driver.

    Any other driver would have found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place: drive for a lower team and risk not being recognised in the future, or continue to dominate in the lower classes. Senna, on the other hand, had his mind made up from the minute he set foot in England - he was going to be driving in Formula One, no matter what the circumstances.

    Director of Operations

    Senna RossMessinger

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    Senna Empty Re: Senna

    Post by racingmania on 25th March 2011, 03:09

    I visited your site & after visiting i found that it is very informational for everyone you have done really a great job thank you .
    formula one

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