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Ayrton Senna's birthday: The 'best racing driver ever' would have turned 61

Ayrton Senna's birthday: The 'best racing driver ever' would have turned 61

21-03-2021 06:00 Last update: 10:12


In the history of Formula 1 we have seen many top talents pass by. The one who has undoubtedly been one of the most talked about is Ayrton Senna. The beloved Brazilian would have turned 61 years old today.

The discussion about who is the best Formula 1 driver ever will go on forever. A fixed statistic that is used is the number of championships a driver has won in his career. In that case, the title will automatically go to Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher.

Yet many people consider Ayrton Senna to be the best racing driver of all time, including former Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger, who raced against Senna. The German thinks the Brazilian could easily have equalled or surpassed Schumacher's record. "I think today we would say that Senna would have been world champion seven or eight times. Schumacher would not even have had the material to come close to Ayrton. From my point of view, it would have been a very clear story for Senna," Berger told the German Kicker.

And Berger is not the only expert who shares that opinion. In 2009 Autosport held a poll in which the publication asked no less than 217 current and former drivers who they thought was the best driver of all time. The winner was Ayrton Senna.

The fatal race in San Marino

The question will not have been whether the Brazilian would have won another championship, but how many. We will however never get an answer to that question, because of the fatal Grand Prix of San Marino in 1994. During qualifying, Roland Ratzenberger already died, causing a lot of protest against the start of the race - including by Senna. The criticism however fell on deaf ears, so the Grand Prix started after all.

For the Brazilian, the race lasted no more than seven laps, when he lost control of the car and ended up crashing into a concrete wall at 218 kilometres per hour. The same evening the legendary driver was declared dead at the age of 34. Ayrton Senna will live on forever in the hearts of racing fans and all of Brazil.

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