Ayrton Senna with Rothmans Williams
Ayrton Senna da Silva was born in Brazil on the 21st March 1960. Ayrton Senna is considered by many to be the greatest Formula One driver of all times. In 1984 he started his Formula One career with the Toleman-Hart team. In his first year he already finished 2nd very close behind Alain Prost in the Monaco GP, a race that Senna would almost certainly have won if the race had not been stopped because of heavy rain. In the following year he already moved to the Lotus Formula One team famous for their black and gold coloured racing cars with John Player Special sponsoring. In 1988 Ayrton Senna moved to the Mc Laren Formula One team with their red and white coloured racing cars and Marlboro cigarette sponsoring. In his first year with Mc Laren he already won the drivers World Championship.
During 1992 the Rothmans Williams-Renault formula One team began to dominate the Formula One races and driver Damon Hill won his first and only drivers World Championship title. Ayrton Senna was without doubt the better driver, but his Mc Laren was no match for the superior Rothmans Williams. Senna became frustrated and since he was a person that simply could not stand loosing he set his mind on a move to the Rothmans Williams team. In 1994 Ayrton Senna made the move to the Rothmans-Williams-Renault team, however new regulations for the 1994 season banning active suspension and traction control meant that the Rothmans Williams had lost it's superiority compared with the 1993 and 1992 versions. After winter testing sessions of the 1994 Rothmans Williams, Senna complained that it was the worst car he had ever driven and even said he would be glad to finish the 1994 season without any serious accidents.
The 1994 season started with a race in Brazil and Senna qualified for the race in pole position, however he had a hard time keeping Michael Schumacher in his Benetton behind. He did not finish the race because he spun the Rothmans Williams, stalling the engine. The second race of the season took place in Aida and though Senna managed to put his car on pole-postion again he did not finish this race as well because 2 cars crashed into his Rothmans Williams in the first corner.
The third race of the 1994 season was held on the 1st of May at the Imola, Italy circuit. The Rothmans Williams-Renault engineers had made several changes to the car in order to improve the performance, however Senna complained that the behavior of the car was worse instead of better. Mainly because of his exceptional talent he did however manage to qualify pole-position for the race. On lap 7 of the race entering the Tamburello corner with over 300 km/h his car left the track and crashed into a concrete barrier with a speed over 200 km/h because of a steering column failure (this has been ruled by an Italian court stating that the steering column of the Rothmans Williams had been badly designed). Ayrton Senna was taken to a nearby hospital but was pronounced death a few hours later. Senna's body was flown back to Brazil in the passenger cabin of a Varig airliner and three days of national mourning were declared by the Brazilian Government. Ayrton Senna's grave is in Sao Paulo, Brazil his hometown, and has the inscription "Nothing can separate me from the love of God".