I've spent the last few days doing some
research on the internet trying to find
something to educate my readers about on the
subject of sports. However, I believe this
time I'm the one who will be getting an
I found about an auto racer from Brazil
named Ayrton Senna. Apparently, Senna was a
Formula 1 racer who competed in 161 Grand
Prix races, and won 41 of them.
He was the Formula 1 champion in 1988,
1990 and 1991, though he missed out in 1989
as he was excluded from the Japanese Grand
Prix, which lost him the title.
According to some of the websites I have
seen on him, he was a god to the Brazilians,
maybe even more so than the great Pele,
although this might be a sin to the rabid
soccer fans of Brazil.
Senna was born in São Paulo, Brazil in
1960. He was born to race. His father first
sponsored him in kart racing as a child,
where he won his first go-kart championship
at the age of 14, and went on to claim 2
South American titles.
He then moved to England to begin an
apprenticeship in top-flight racing. His
Brazillian fans cheered him through while he
took the titles from 1981 to 1983 in
progressively more powerful cars.
He first grabbed the headlines in a
Formula One with a dramatic drive in the wet
at Monaco placing second behind Alain Prost
in a race that was shortened because of the
terrible conditions. The following year he
was snapped up to drive for Lotus-Renault.
Again driving in the wet, he won his first
Grand Prix in Portugal.
From 1985 to 1987 he won six races for
Lotus. In 1987 Lotus ran Honda engines, and
when Honda switched in 1988 to the McLaren
team Senna went with them. This led to an era
of McLaren/Honda/Senna dominance of Formula
In 1988 he won 8 races, an all time
record, and in 1989 he won a further 6 races
but was edged out of the championship by
fellow McLaren driver Alain Prost. In 1989 he
came second again to Alain Prost, but only
due to his exclusion from the Japanese Grand
Prix. The next two consecutive years he won
the crown. In 1990 he won 6 races for
McLaren-Honda, and in 1991 he won 7 races for
He was apparently on his way to setting
many world wide records when he died on
Sunday May 1st, 1994 in the San Marino Grand
Prix. His car had a mechanical failure. The
steering shaft snapped veering his Williams
TW16 off to the right and head on into a
Senna was airlifted to hospital where he
died from severe head and neck injuries four
Upon the news of his death, many legends
in the racing world, such as Emerson
Fittipaldi and Jackie Stewart, said about
Senna he was one of the best they had ever
All this, and somehow I had never heard of
Is this American egocentrism at work? Did
he lack North American media coverage? Was it
because he didn't have a deal with Nike? Was
it because he wasn't European?
I don't know. But I do know this: There's
something wrong when someone like Senna
obtains the kind of respect and admiration he
did in Brazil but wasn't even be heard of
Maybe with technology shrinking the
distance between language and cultures, we
can soon share all our heroes with everyone.
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