The private face of Ayrton Senna


senna2This coming year, on May 1, it will be 16 years since the world watched the final moments in the life of Ayrton Senna, played out live on TV. As time passes, his legacy as the fastest, most important, charismatic and ambitious racing driver of his generation continues to grow.

To many, he remains the greatest there has ever been. To others, the flaws that pushed him way beyond the sporting moral code we expect from our heroes will forever smudge his reputation. Whatever, he remains a colossus of our sport, as intriguing now as he ever was in his lifetime – and as time moves on, perhaps more so.

We know the statistics: the 41 Grand Prix wins, the 65 pole positions, the three world titles. But only a lucky few gained a real insight into Senna, the complicated, serious and very private man. One of those was journalist Mike Doodson, who grew close to a young Ayrton in the formative years of his Formula 1 career.

Doodson was fortunate to interview Senna many times, even being welcomed into his São Paulo home early in 1984. Senna trusted Doodson – until Mike wrote something that changed their relationship forever.

In the February issue of Motor Sport, we present Mike Doodson’s story of how he befriended the greatest, most enigmatic racer of his age – and how he lost that trust and access to the Brazilian’s inner circle. It’s a fascinating, and slightly disturbing, tale.

Elsewhere, Adam Cooper meets Nico Rosberg to talk about his new dawn as a Silver Arrows Grand Prix driver with Mercedes-Benz; Andrew Frankel adds to the three-pointed star theme by driving a Merc-powered Penske Indycar – the last of its breed to win races; and Simon Taylor lunches with Desiré Wilson, perhaps the fastest woman racing driver we have yet seen.

To cap another eclectic mix of the past and the present, we introduce two new columns.

The first is by a man who has done it all. He’s been an Indy 500 winner, a GP driver, a team owner, a series president and now the creator of an exciting new historic racing initiative. He’s Bobby Rahal, and you can read his thoughts on racing every month in Motor Sport.

Ed Foster, our promising young writer (not to mention tech-whizz web editor and podcast producer), is the other new columnist taking his bow in the February edition. Ed has the use of the bright yellow Motor Sport Lotus Elise to bring us On the Road, featuring tales from all corners of the motor racing world.

From everyone here at Motor Sport, happy new year.

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