Senna: 60 years

Celebrating Brazil's F1 champion, who would have been 60 this weekend

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Born on 21 March 1960, Ayrton Senna would be celebrating his 60th birthday this weekend. His status as one of the sport’s greats remains undimmed, more than 25 years after the Brazilian’s tragic death at Imola.

To commemorate this anniversary, we have collated some of the best and most insightful articles from our Archive, from writers including Nigel Roebuck, Mark Hughes, Simon Arron and Paul Fearnley, giving a comprehensive view of Ayrton Senna the man and the racer.

What else is there to say about the three-time Formula 1 champion? We’ve taken a new look at some of Senna’s less celebrated — but brilliant — drives, as well as a retrospective look at the race that confirmed his status as a future champion: the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix 

Senna’s status undimmed

Weaving between the barriers at Monaco; walking on water at Donington; and an emotional home victory in São Paulo: each moment was one of supremacy, writes Jake Williams-Smith

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Ayrton Senna in the McLaren Honda at the 1988 Italian Grand Prix

“Ayrton Senna was the most complex character I ever encountered in the sport.”

From the Motor Sport Archive, Nigel Roebuck looks back at the career of a “special force in motor racing”.

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Portrait of Ayrton Senna at the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix

Ayrton Senna: the forgotten great drives

Senna’s great drives trip off the tongue. Monaco ’84; Portugal ’85; Donington ’93. But easily lost amid the accolades are a string of remarkable performances, writes Graham Keilloh

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Senna leads Prost at Monaco in 1989

Ayrton Senna by Alain Prost

He was so different, you know, so completely different from any other racing driver – any other person – I’ve ever known…”: Nigel Roebuck’s 1998 interview with Alain Prost, on Senna.

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Ayrton Senna Alain Prost 1989 McLaren team photo

 

Gallery

From karting star to triple F1 champion: Ayrton Senna’s racing career in pictures

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3. Senna before the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix GPPjpg

With Toleman in F1, ahead of the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix

Grand Prix Photo

Ayrton Senna in his McLaren Honda ahead of the 1990 British Grand Prix

On the grid ahead of the 1990 British Grand Prix

Grand Prix Photo

Senna at Monaco

Motor racing was spiritual for Ayrton Senna and Monaco was his cathedral, writes Paul Fearnley. The most glamorous race provided the perfect shop window for Senna to display his gifts, be they God-given or otherwise.

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Ayrton Senna on the seafront in his Lotus during the 1985 Monaco Grand Prix

1984 Monaco Grand Prix: the arrival of Senna

Ayrton Senna had already made an impression in the paddock, but it was on F1’s brightest stage, the Monaco Grand Prix, where he announced himself to the world. writes James Elson

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Ayrton Senna during the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix

Light at the end of the tunnel

Ayrton Senna won the Monaco Grand Prix a record six times, but his connection with the event went far deeper than mere results, writes Mark Hughes in this article from our Archive

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Ayrton Senna Monaco tunnel

Snapshots of Senna

Only a small number of journalists were allowed into Ayrton Senna’s world. Mike Doodson, one of the favoured few recalls his early friendship – and final falling out – with the great Brazilian.

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Ayrton Senna sits on the diving board of his home swimming pool

Senna’s dirty weekend

From the Motor Sport Archive: It’s the kind of thing a team would now suppress – an F1 star sneaking a go at rallying. But such things were possible in 1986, ebven when the driver was Ayrton Senna, writes Steve Bennett

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SennaLotus1985

Estoril 1985, Senna’s first win

A dominant drive in the rain that brought an emotional first victory: Nigel Roebuck recounts Ayrton Senna’s first win at the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix.

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Ayrton Senna celebrates his first Formula 1 victory in the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix