Ayrton Senna: a living legend

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Ayrton Senna da Silva was a Brazilian racing driver who won the Formula One WDC in 1988 and 1991. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Formule One drivers of all time. He died in an accident while leading the 1994 San Marina Grand Prix whilst driving for Williams Racing. Senna has often been voted as the best and most influential F1 driver of all time in various motorsport polls. He was recognized for his qualifying speed over one lap. From 1989 until 2006 he held the record for most pole positions.


Senna began his motorsport career in karting, moved up to open-wheel racing in 1981 and won the 1983 Britisch Formula 3 chamionship. He made his Formula One debut with Toleman-Hart in 1984, before moving to Lotus-Renault the following year and winning 6 GP’s over the next 3 seasons. In 1988 he joined Frenchman Alain Prost at Mclaren-Honda. Between them, they won all but one of the 16 GP’s that year. Senna also claimed his first WDC that year. Prost claimed the WDC in 1989 and Senna his second and third championship in 1990 and 1991. In 1992, the Williams-Renault combination began to dominate F1. Senna nonetheless managed to finish the 1993 season as runner-up, winning five races and negotiating a move to Williams in 1994.


In Senna’s karting time his helmet consisted of a solid white color with no further features. He also experimented with a yellow and green helmet before finally deciding in 1979 to go for the legendary combination of a yellow background with a green and blue stripe. This design was designed by Sid Mosca, he was also responsible for the helmets of Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet.

When asked about Senna’s helmet design, Mosca said that the yellow base symbolizes youth. The blue stripe symbolizes movement where the green stripe symbolizes aggression. Something that was characteristic of his driving style. The helmet colors are mainly associated with the national colors of Brazil by the general public.

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