The race weekend at Italy’s Imola circuit was uneven, unsettling. On that first Friday, Brazil’s Reubens Barrichello walked away from a devastating accident. The following day, Austria’s Roland Ratzenberger wasn’t so fortunate. His was the first death in Formula One since 1982.
Less than 24 hours later, Ayrton Senna met his fate when his car lost control on the fast sweeping curve called Tamburello. It impacted the outside retaining wall, and simply… stopped.
In Brazil, Senna’s grave in the city of Sao Paulo was adorned with wreaths and bright bouquets. He was laid to rest in the Morumbi Cemetery.
Senna’s sister Viviane, unveiled an Azul Brazilian airline aircraft with the colors of Senna’s iconic yellow helmet on its nose.
Vivianne is the head of the Ayrton Senna Institute, which partners with major corporations to give educational opportunities to millions of children across Brazil. The Ayrton Senna Institute was a passionate part of the driver’s life and remains so today.
The Institute works to develop the potential of new generations and benefits students to be successful at school in order to be able to respond to the professional, economic, cultural and political demands of the 21st century.
The Institute prepares more than 75,000 teachers and managers every year, and almost 2 million children and young people benefit directly from the work of these teachers, who are trained by the organization, in more than 1300 municipalities in various regions in Brazil.
In 2012, the BBC acclaimed the late Ayrton Senna as the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time.
A panel of experts, including veteran commentator Murray Walker, have been counting down the sport’s top performers in recent weeks. Scottish greats Jim Clark and Sir Jackie Stewart had come in at No 3 and No 7 respectively, while current drivers Michael Schumacher (No 4), Sebastian Vettel (No 8), Fernando Alonso (No 10) and Lewis Hamilton (No 15) also made the top 20. Yesterday, it was announced that Senna is No 1.
The Brazilian won three F1 world championships (in 1988, 1990 and 1991) but was tragically killed in an accident while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. He remains the last driver to die in F1.
“His record is complete and he is untouchable,” said 1996 world champion Damon Hill. “He expressed himself completely through his driving. He had 65 pole positions. There was no one like Ayrton over a single lap.”