Friday, 1 May 2009

It’s been 15 years…

For those who are familiar with significant dates in F1 history, then you should know that today marks the 15th anniversary of the tragic loss of one of the world’s greatest racing drivers – in my opinion, the greatest. Ayrton Senna lost his life at the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1st, 1994. It’s considered by many to be the blackest day in the whole of motorsport because that weekend also featured the loss of Austrian Roland Ratzenberger the day before.

Senna was loved by many and his death literally brought the whole of Brazil to a standstill. In fact, it brought the whole world to a halt. He was a magician at the wheel of a racing car and a philosopher and genius out of one. Although he was not always a samaritan, especially in some of his on-track exploits, you could not deny he had that certain aura about him. Something that just made you want to like him. Some of his quotations are amazing and I feel can not only be applied to racing, but to life in general. My favourite of all time is:

On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. You then go for this limit and you touch this limit and you think “OK, this is the limit”. As soon you touch this limit, something happens and suddenly you can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct and the experience as well……you can fly very high.

Say what you will. I feel personally that each year on this day, racing fans should remember this great man. Of course, there are some who will argue we should do so for others including Gilles Villeneuve and Jim Clark, which I agree with of course. But to me, May 1st will always be the day we lost Ayrton. He was and still is my main inspiration, my hero and the person I aspire to.

There is a song by Chris Rea which he wrote and recorded in tribute to Senna, and so I shall end this small tribute to him on this sad day for racing fans with the one word which Rea titled his song and is fitting to how we should remember him.

Saudade, Ayrton. Saudade…