Winner who restored Brazil’s pride

Ayrton (Japanese GP 1989)

Picture: Ayrton in pensive and contemplatory mood (Japanese GP 1989)


Motorsport: Winner who restored Brazil’s pride

By Tales Azzoni

5:00 AM Friday May 2, 2014



Twenty years on,

Formula One ace

Ayrton Senna’s

Country remembers

A display of photos at the Imola track in Italy honours Ayrton Senna, who died after crashing there on May 1, 1994. Photo / AP

Brazil’s adoration of Ayrton Senna transcends sports. It’s something only someone like Pele can relate to in the country of football.

When hundreds of thousands of people lined up for hours to get a final glimpse of Senna’s body before his funeral, they were paying tribute to more than a three-time Formula One champion who was killed in a crash in Italy on May 1, 1994.

To Brazilians, Senna was more than a great sports idol. He personified pride and patriotism.

Every time he pulled out the country’s green-and-yellow flag to celebrate his victories on the track, Brazilians rejoiced at another triumph by a local hero succeeding abroad.

At a time when Brazil’s national team had few victories to celebrate on the football field and the country endured political and economic turmoil, Senna gave Brazilians reason to cheer.

“He was the Brazilian who made it,” said Galvao Bueno, the voice of F1 in Brazilian television and Senna’s close friend. “He was the Brazilian who went abroad and did better than the Europeans.”

Senna’s sudden death at the San Marino Grand Prix 20 years ago did more than shock the entire country. It dealt a blow to the pride of a generation of Brazilians who grew up waking up on Sundays expecting to hear Brazil’s national anthem after another Senna victory.

His determination, perfectionism, sense of justice and patriotism made Ayrton a very special person to Brazilians,” said Bruno Senna, who was 10 when his uncle died.

“There is this nostalgia and unforgettable memories of his great overtaking manoeuvres, great races and great qualifying runs,” said Bruno, who also became a race driver and briefly drove for the same Williams team that his uncle was driving for when he died.

“But there’s also the legacy of his personality away from the track. He was successful in the sport, but at the same time was able to transcend that to become an example of life principles.”

What happened in the days after Senna’s death was symbolic of what he meant to the nation. The Brazilian government immediately declared three days of mourning and said it would give Senna the honours heads of state received.

In a football match just after news of his death started spreading, nearly 60,000 fans left their teams’ rivalry behind and started chanting, “Ole, ole, ole, ole, Senna, Senna”. The tribute came even though Senna was an avid Corinthians fan and the teams playing that afternoon were Palmeiras and Sao Paulo.

During Senna’s memorial services, more than 200,000 people stood in line for hours to spend about 10 seconds in front of the coffin.

About 250,000 people followed the funeral procession that took Senna’s body to a cemetery.

A Brazilian sports channel will mark the 20th anniversary of Senna’s death today by airing nine of his greatest races.

The first time Senna used the Brazilian flag to celebrate inside his car was at the 1986 US GP in Detroit.

The gesture was especially meaningful because it came the day after Brazil lost to France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Mexico.

When Brazil failed on the field, it was Senna and his trademark celebration who gave Brazilians a reason to be proud.

No wonder Senna remains on par with Pele when Brazilians talk about the country’s greatest sports idols of all time.

– AP

By Tales Azzoni


“You think you have a limit. And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.”
-Ayrton Senna

Picture by my old friend John (whose “photographic talents” I definitely do not possess!)

web site

“All the world will be happier and better, when the men and women have the souls of artists,, like that of an Ayrton Senna.”
– craig (as inspired by Rodin’s famous words)


“If you have God on your side, then everything becomes clear. “

– Ayrton Senna


rAINBOW (touch)


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