Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ayrton in our hearts

They were all in Bahrein (almost, neither Nelson Piquet - a former Lotus driver himself - nor Kimi Raikkonen had turned up), the former Formula 1 champions still alive. And while we recognized Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti, both having won a title with Lotus and we longed for unforgettable Jim Clark, Graham Hill (his son Damon was there) and Jochen Rindt (the three other World Champions with the team), the author of these lines was missing especially someone: Ayrton Senna. Motor racing passion is by definition deeply subjective, it may be unfair to miss the great Brazilian champion while none of his World titles was on a Lotus and the three legends I just mentioned are no longer with us either, however I think Lotus fans can understand my point. He was the last driver to make the name of our team shine in Formula 1. Beyond that, Ayrton was a genius, a complex character and an overwhelmingly talented driver. His rival Alain Prost (another genius with a different approach to racing), enemy in the early years and friend in the last months of "Beco"'s life would certainly agree. Senna gave Lotus fans six stunning victories, including the first and the last after Colin Chapman's death. 

So we all miss you Ayrton, so much... Your young and beloved nephew Bruno is on the grid, and while he is racing with a rival team, he will never be just "another driver" for Lotus fans. When you look at his eyes through the helmet, it sends shivers through the spine as we see your eyes, "Magic", your eyes looking at us. It seems that Martin Brundle was extremely impressed by this and that may partly explain the warm welcome Bruno enjoyed at the Paddock, he brings back so many memories of you. 

Video: Portugal 1985
 
In Portugal 1985, Ayrton Senna would give the Lotus Renault 97T a fantastic victory under a deluge, leading from pole position to the checkered flag and making the fastest lap in the process. It was his first win and a warning to everybody that Formula 1's new master had arrived and that he intended no make no concessions. It would not be as easy as that, of course, as Alain Prost was around and the Frenchman was a formidable competitor. It would, as Ayrton's father has often pointed out, help bring the best out of these two outstanding stars and make those years simply unforgettable. And may I bring in a personal memory, I was at Silverstone in 1985 and I heard the crowd roar as the Brazilian (4th on the grid) stole the lead in the first corner, and heard that roar extend all around the circuit as spectators discovered the amazing boy from Sao Paulo had done it again... Unforgettable. (He would retire later). 

Dedicated to my friend Jet and my friends from Foro de AyrtonSenna.es

Stay tuned.


 There is only one "MAGIC": AYRTON SENNA
March 21st: 50 years of Ayrton's birth