Ayrton Senna And The Rose-Tinted Glasses


May 1st 1994. A day that will forever remain etched on the minds of Motorsport fans the world over, it was the day the world lost one of the greatest racing drivers that ever lived; the day Ayrton Senna died at Imola.

It’s hard to write about Ayrton Senna because everything that could have been said about the great man has already been said. We’ve all seen the movie and we’ve all heard the stories and seen the racing but what about the Ayrton Senna that has been forgotten; his bad points and imperfections.

Sky Sports F1’s Senna Journalists Special highlighted a lot of Senna’s controversies. The show ruffled a lot of peoples feathers on twitter. A number of people have been accusing the show of being ‘disrespectful’ to Senna – it wasn’t, it was just offering a dose of reality to what is a tragic event. Murray Walker, David Tremayne and Maurice Hamilton gave some of the most honest insight into the Brazilian’s life you will ever wish to hear and they left no subject untouched.

All three men mention the fact that they don’t think Senna was the greatest driver; I disagree with that but opinion is opinion. The fact of the matter is, the majority of people view Senna’s career with rose-tinted glasses, in particular younger fans who base their ‘love’ of Senna on the feature film; which depicts the three time world champion as an angelic, untouchable and un-fairly treated hero.

Now don’t get me wrong I adore Senna. I never had the opportunity to see him race because he was unfortunately a little bit ahead of my time, but what I do know is everything I have heard and seen about Senna has left me inspired and in awe. But no one comes without their imperfections and I think a lot of people struggle to understand that.

With death comes immortality. Like Kurt Cobain, John Lennon and James Dean. The fact that Senna passed away in such a sad and shocking way at a fairly young age will make him timeless and free from criticism because it feels wrong to do so.

If Senna had survived the accident at Imola and was still around today people would probably take a look back on his career and the controversy that surrounded many moments with apprehension about how he did certain things. Like Suzuka 1990.

I can’t help but think that if this years World Championship comes down to the final race and someone like Sebastian Vettel deliberately took out Lewis Hamilton at turn one, fans would want the German’s head on a stick to parade through the streets with. But when Senna does it it’s somehow deemed to be acceptable?

I don’t want anyone reading this to think i’m being disrespectful because i’m not. All I want people to do after reading this is to take off those rose tinted glasses and remember Ayrton today for the way he was, imperfections included.

He was an enigma, a mystical man who was on occasion out of this world. He was honest and tenacious but reckless. Masterful in the wet and sublime in the dry. He was the toughest but also the most kind hearted. Most importantly though no matter what you think about Senna no matter how much you worship him we must remember one thing today on the 20th anniversary of his death. He was a human not a deity.

The most valuable lesson I have learned from the life of Ayrton Senna is no matter how many mistakes you make, no matter how many times you fail you have to get up, dust yourself off and work your arse off. The only person you should look up to and admire is yourself. Be a Senna fan by all means but don’t assume he was perfect and idolize him, live like Senna lived and be your own idol.

Ayrton Senna da Silva 1960-1994: “I have no idols. I admire work, dedication and competence.

  • Antonio

    Well you never saw Senna race ….that says a lot

    .As for Murray Walker, David Tremayne and Maurice Hamilton their opinions were pretty lightweight.

    Murray as usual spoke about the coming together of Prost and senna in 1989 and 1990 as reasons for Senna not being the greatest without getting tothe root cause of the matter.
    This is the same Murray who once said Schumacher is the greatest yes the same guy who cheated in 94 crashed into Hill Villeneuve parked his car at rascasse in Monaco and squeezed Barichello into a wall ….Talk about double standards …the old fossil

    At least David Tremayne touched on the topic of the illegal Benetton of 94 hats off to him

  • Aaron Rook

    It’s hardly my fault I wasn’t around to watch Ayrton race live, not that it’s relevant.
    All I was getting at is that because of Senna’s tragic death he has became immortal and all of his imperfections have been forgotten.

  • antonio

    No it isn’t your fault you was not around to watch Ayrton race live .However you say that the feature film depicts the three time world champion as an angelic, untouchable and un-fairly treated hero. Well I got some news for you buddy the film shows it exactly as it was.
    Also that old fruit cake murray hardly remembers his own name let alone what happened 20 years ago ….If you want to hear unbiased reporting from the british press I suggest you listen to Joe saward who tells it like it is

  • TeeJay

    I did see Senna race many times my only surprise was that his fatal accident didn’t happen earlier in his career he drove without any thought of the consequence of his dangerous driving, his only thought seemed to be win at any cost and the cost in the end was his own life. I wonder what people would be saying of him now if he had taken another driver with him and it was only luck he didn’t . There are many who will not like what I am saying but I know what I saw and know what I believe.
    Even so may he rest in peace.