Motorsport

Brazil still mourns ‘superhero’ Senna

Salute! Brazilian fans pay tribute to Ayrton Senna at Imola, where the Formula One legend was killed in 1994.  

A master on the Formula One racing track, triple world champion Ayrton Senna was the pride of Brazil. Twenty-five years after his tragic death in the San Marino Grand Prix, he remains one of the country’s and sports biggest sporting legends.

The anniversary of Senna’s death on Wednesday — dubbed “Senna Day” — will revive the sense of loss and bewilderment that followed the shocking crash on the Imola circuit in Italy on May 1, 1994, that took the 34-year-old’s life.

It will also serve as a bitter reminder that since Senna’s last title in 1991, there has never been a Brazilian World champion.

Senna’s death sparked an outpouring of grief around the world.

But his loss was felt acutely in Brazil where the sight of Senna, easily identifiable by his distinctive yellow crash helmet, taking the chequered flag, had been a rare source of joy for ordinary people struggling to make ends meet.

Apart from his exceptional driving skills, his attention to other elements of the sport, such as physical and mental preparation, as well as understanding the vehicle and the technology that powered it, set him apart from other drivers.

Hugely popular

Such was his popularity among Brazilians that 25 years after his death Senna’s image continues to be used in advertising and social campaigns.

A survey in 2014 showed 47% of people in Senna’s home city of Sao Paulo ranked him as the biggest sporting name in the country. Football great Pele was a distant second.

Cultural and sporting events are planned for “Senna Day” at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos track.

Dedicated

“Determination” and “dedication” are the words often used to explain Senna’s success on the track.

They are also the values extolled by the Ayrton Senna Institute, which his sister Viviane founded in 1994 to offer opportunities for disadvantaged children.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 8:45:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/motorsport/brazil-still-mourns-superhero-senna/article26995571.ece

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