Ayrton Senna

Country Brazil
Date of Birth 21-3-60
Died 1-5-94
  Lotus Career
Debut 7-4-85 25-3-84
Last Race 15-11-87 1-5-94
Races 48 161
Wins 6 41
Podiums 22 80
Poles 15 65
Points 150 614

Other information...

Widely regarded as one of the best F1 drivers ever, Senna's entry into the sport was unusual, though extremely calculated. After coming back from retirement (!) and beating Martin Brundle to the British F3 Championship he managed to slip through the fingers of Williams, McLaren, Brabham and Team Lotus before securing a drive with Toleman for the 1984 season. After alerting the rest of the grid to his talent (including a stunning drive at Monaco in the wet - a sign of things to come), he got himself a drive at Lotus to replace the outgoing Nigel Mansell in 1985.

With the arrival of Senna, Lotus' fortunes were revived, and he set about becoming the focus of the team by out-racing Elio de Angelis and claiming his first win in the second race of the season at Estoril. With another win at Spa his then gave him number one status for the next season (opposed to joint status), which saw de Angelis leave the team.

Derek Warwick was favourite to become the second driver, but was vetoed by Senna who wanted all efforts behind his bid for the championship, and so Johnny Dumfries was hired. 1986 turned out to be more of the same with two wins and a fourth place in the championship (just like 1985). At the end of the season he made the ultimatum that if he didn't win the championship in 1987 he would leave Lotus.

And so 1987 took a familliar route with two wins (including the first of his six at Monaco), though he did secure third place in the championship. Halfway through the season it became apparent that he would move and Nelson Piquet (who would win the championship) was drafted in to replace him. Unfortunately this then started the slow decline of Lotus to which it had briefly stopped during Senna's time.

A switch to McLaren saw him claim three World Championships, set a record of six wins at Monaco and engage in a running fued with Alain Prost which only ended at Prost's last race and Senna's last win at Adelaide in 1993. Despite winning five races (including a stunning first lap at Donington in the wet), it was clear that McLaren were not competative, and so it was to Williams, the dominant team of the moment.

The 1994 season did not start well, although he claimed three poles (setting a record of sixty-five poles), he also posted three DNF's. With the beginning of his last race at San Marino the pressure was on to perform. While he was leading the race his Williams FW16 ran straight off the track and Senna was killed almost instantly.

Instituto Ayrton Senna - The Official Ayrton Senna Website